Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Robert Durst: A truly dumb serial killer

We all make stupid mistakes but this particular serial killer made one of the stupidest mistakes in the history of murderer. First, I will give you some background information about him.

He was born on April 12, 1943 in Scarsdale, New York State. In 1950 at age 7, Durst witnessed his mother's apparent suicide after she jumped from the roof of their Scarsdale family mansion.

In the year 2000, crime author Susan Berman was found fatally shot in her Benedict Canyon home in Los Angeles. It was a puzzling murder mystery from the beginning but it really began attracting attention when her murder became linked to Robert Durst, the scion to a New York real estate fortune. Berman, whose father was a notorious mob boss who teamed up with gangsters such as Bugsy Siegel to help create modern Las Vegas, was best known as a writer of books, articles and a documentary about Las Vegas and her life growing up there.

On Christmas Eve 2000, Berman's body, with a single gunshot wound to the head, was found by police in her small home. She lived alone, and police were alerted only after neighbors spotted one of her dogs running loose and her door left open. At the time, police said that they believed she may have been killed a few days earlier and that nothing appeared to be missing from her home and that the assailant entered without signs of a struggle. This would lead them to believe that she was murdered by an acquaintance.

It was common knowledge that Berman and Durst were friends. At the time of her death, authorities in New York were trying to talk to Berman about the disappearance of Durst’s wife. In 1982, Kathleen Durst had vanished shortly after she began talking about her intention to get a divorce from her husband. She had been fighting with her husband the night she disappeared, according to a good friend, who also said that Kathleen Durst was worried about what her husband might do to her.To this day, she has never been found alive or dead.

Durst later said that the last time he saw his wife was when he dropped her off at a train station in Westchester, New York, so she could head back to medical school in the city. He secretly divorced her in 1990. I think he would have to declare her dead first. That wouldn’t mean that he knew she was dead. However, if a person is missing for seven or more years, they can be declared dead.

Susan Berman before she was murdered, acted as an ‘informal spokesman’ for Robert Durst by calling  media outlets and other people who suspected that he had a role in his wife's disappearance so that she could give Durst’s side of the story. After several weeks of headlines, the Berman case appeared to grow cold. Los Angeles police officials said they were looking into a Durst connection but stressed that he was not a suspect. I should add that it is not unusual for the police to interview a friend of a murdered victim. It is a common police practice.

Years after his wife went missing; prosecutors stated that Durst was hiding from investigators who were investigation his wife’s murder while he was living in Texas. Later, he killed his neighbor, Morris Black and dismembered the body with a bow saw and then placed the dismembered parts of the victim’s body in plastic bags and later threw them in the Galveston Bay. Then he skipped town. He was later found and arrested and charged with the murder of his neighbor however his jurors acquitted him in a high-profile 2003 murder trial after his lawyers said he'd acted in self-defense.

Two years ago, HBO decided that they wanted to do a six-part television series on Durst and would you believe it, he was willing to be interviewed in the final segment of the series. The series was called, The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst. The show depicts true crimes that are revisited, showing new exhibits of evidence discovered, expression of doubts and the raising of questions as the addictive storytelling series slowly unfolds in a new kind of investigative technique that coincides with real-time legal action and endless, explosive online speculation. I can only surprise that he wanted to tell the viewers that he really didn’t do any crimes related to his missing wife, the shooting of his girlfriend and the death of his neighbor.

There is an old adage that is appropriate in events like this. It is; Silence is Golden. In this particular instance, he should have kept his mouth shut. But then, he wouldn't be invited by the producers of the show to be a guest in the series’ final installment.  No. He wanted to tell everyone that he did no wrong to any one and what better way to do that than on a popular TV show, especially one dealing entirely about  him. 

Unbeknownst to Durst, the police authorities co-ordinated with HBO to give maximum impact to the finale of the documentary. I guess they were hoping that Durst would unintentionally let it slip out that he murdered his wife and/or Berman or both of them.  

The show detailed real estate fortune heir, Robert Durst's life of privilege and his links to the three deaths—Susan Berman, his friend in Los Angeles; Kathleen Durst, his wife in New York and Morris Black, the elderly neighbour in Texas. Durst has long maintained he didn't kill Berman or have anything to do with his wife's disappearance or do anything wrong with respect to the killing of his neighbour and he said the same thing on camera in the final episode of the series.

Now comes the real juicy part of this story. Just thinking of it makes me drool in ecstasy.

He had to use the toilet so the taped show was put on hold for a commercial break while he left his chair to go to the bathroom. While he was in the bathroom alone, (get ready for it) he began mumbling to himself during his soliloquy in his raspy voice, “There it is. You are caught. You’re right of course, but you can’t imagine. Arrest him. I don’t know what’s in the house. Oh, I want this. What a disaster. He was right and I was wrong.  I am having difficulty with the question.”  

This part of his soliloquy doesn’t make much sense but the final statement certainly does. I can’t stop my drooling. Brace for it.

He burped and then said for all to hear. “What the hell did I do? Killed them all of course.”

Now you may very well ask; why am I drooling?  He didn’t take off the small microphone attached to his lapel and it was live. Everything he said was broadcasted over the air.  Two years later, the producers of the show discovered what he had said and notified the police. . He was promptly arrested. He is facing an indictment for the murder of Berman. His folly came about without any help from anyone else. 

Why was he talking aloud to himself? Many people do that. Sometimes when I am alone and I am rehearsing a speech, I will repeat my speech aloud. Sometimes my wife would come into my study and ask, “Are you talking to yourself again? I would reply. “Of course not! Do you think I am crazy? I am talking to my invisible friend.” 

I was the producer and host of a TV talk show for five years and I and my guests each had a small mike attached to our lapels. I was always apprised of the fact that these mikes were very powerful and would pick up any sounds in our immediate area. When the shows would come to an end, the director in the control room would inform the stage manager that the mikes were disconnected and the stage manager would then signal to me that the mikes were no longer live.  After a while, I would take the mike off my lapel even before I  got the signal from the stage manager. One night, I couldn't get the mike off my lapel so I exclaimed loudly, “Someone help me get this fucking mike off my lapel.” Then I heard the director’s voice. He said, “You are still on the air, Dahn.”

That wasn’t as bad as what happened  many years ago when the host of a children’s radio show made a really embarrassing remark immediately after the show came to an end and he didn’t know that his mike was still live and the listeners could still hear his voice. He said, “I hope that keeps the little buggers happy.”  OOPS!  That was his last radio show.                                                             

 I wrote a second article on Durst and it was published on Friday, March 20th. 

It deals with whether or not his statement in the bathroom can be used against 


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