Robert Durst got away with murder when he admitted to killing and dismembering Morris Black in front of a jury, and was still found not guilty. Oxygen’s The Jury Speaks, premiering Saturday, July 22 at 9/8c, takes a closer look at what led the jury to make such a strange and unexpected decision. The Manhattan real estate mogul has also been in proximity of the bizarre disappearance of his wife, murder of his best friend, and has all the while engaged in some seriously weird behavior. Finally caught out over the murder of Susan Berman by the documentary The Jinx, Durst is waiting to once again stand trial again later this year. In the meantime, here are some of the more shocking facts from the initial trial and life of Robert Durst.
1. His first wife literally vanished into thin air
At 30 years old, Durst married 19 year old Kathie McCormack in 1973. By 1980, the marriage was in trouble, and Kathie told friends and family Durst was controlling and abusive. On January 6 1982, Kathie went to hospital after Durst assaulted her and was treated for bruising. On January 31 she went missing. Kathie was apparently at a party with friends when an angry phone call from Durst pulled her away. She told friends she was afraid of what Durst would do. None of Kathie’s friends or family saw her again. Since then, Kathie has been declared legally dead, despite a body never having been found. Kathie’s friends suspected Durst was responsible for her disappearance, and despite claiming to be the last person to talk to her, and secretly divorcing her after she vanished, Durst was never fully investigated for his wife going missing.
2. Durst became a vagabond
Despite remarrying in New York, and having a vast fortune there, Durst lived life on the road.
3. He let his friend Susan Berman borrow $50,000
Berman was Durst’s unofficial spokesperson in the media, and it would later be revealed that she borrowed a huge amount of money from Durst, not long before her body was found.
4. Durst’s whereabouts were unaccounted for when Berman was killed
On December 19, 2000, Durst flew from New York to San Francisco, and for three days his exact whereabouts were a mystery. On the 23rd, he flew back to New York from San Francisco. The day after, Susan Berman was found dead from a gunshot wound to her head in her Beverly Hills home. Strangely, the only evidence was a note addressed to the Beverly Hills police, alerting them that there was a “cadaver” in Berman’s home. Beverly was misspelled “Beverley” in the address.
5. Durst began life on the lam
As media coverage mounted over Durst’s potential connection to Berman’s death, Durst went into hiding. He moved to Galveston Texas where he posed as a woman named Dorothy Ciner. Dorothy was a mute who lived in a boarding house next to a man named Morris Black.
6. Durst got away with killing Black
September 30, 2001, Black’s dismembered body was found floating in and strewn around the beach. In Black’s room police found a trail of blood from Black’s apartment leading into “Dorothy’s” room, where they also found a bloody knife and men’s boots. But Durst was nowhere to be found. They eventually found him holed up in a hotel under a fake name, and he was put under arrest. But with his immense resources, Durst was able to post bail, and subsequently disappeared, but not entirely. On October 18, 2001, Durst used Black’s identity to rent a car in Alabama. And on November 30, he was finally caught while shoplifting a sandwich in Pennsylvania. All of this was extremely damning. Even more damning: on trial Durst admitted to dismembering Black, but argued that he only killed him in self defense. Shockingly, Durst was found not guilty, but pled guilty to tampering with evidence and skipping bail, and served his five year sentence on parole.
7. Durst was essentially caught by a documentary filmmaker
The HBO documentary, The Jinx, would be Durst’s ultimate downfall. While researching for the documentary, filmmakers found an envelope with an address handwritten by Durst on it – Susan Berman’s. The handwriting was a perfect match for the tip-off letter sent to the Beverly Hills police (both letters even misspelled Beverly “Beverley”) following Berman’s death. Jarecki confronted Durst on camera, and Durst denied the allegations, but would later be caught in the bathroom with his microphone still on, muttering “I killed them all”. In 2013, Jarecki shared the information he’d collected with the police. The following year, the investigation into Berman’s murder was reopened.
8. Durst did some really weird stuff
Around the same time The Jinx saga was unfolding, Durst was fined $500 for urinating on a rack in a CVS in Houston.
9. Durst tried to flee, again
Once Durst was officially wanted for the murder of Susan Berman, he was nowhere to be found. He was eventually caught in New Orleans, apparently en route to Cuba. In his possession were a gun, $40,000 cash and an incredibly creepy latex mask.
10. Durst was caught the day before the season finale of The Jinx was set to air
It was an extremely climactic ending in the strange case of Robert Durst. His trial is set to begin in October 2017.
[All photos: Getty Images]
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