(Reuters) — Robert Durst, caught on audiotape during the filming of a documentary saying he “killed them all,” is prepared to go to California to face a murder charge in the 2000 death of a longtime friend, an attorney for the New York real estate scion said on Monday.
The subject of a six-part HBO documentary series called “The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst,” he has maintained his innocence even after the dramatic finale aired on Sunday night with a possible confession.
Durst was arrested on Saturday in New Orleans and agreed in court on Monday to be extradited to Los Angeles County on a charge of first-degree murder. But his attorney later expressed frustration that New Orleans authorities might hold Durst while they considered filing unspecified local charges against him.
“We’re ready to go to California and to have a trial,” defense attorney Dick DeGuerin said after Durst appeared in court in an orange jumpsuit and handcuffs.
The warrant issued by Los Angeles County is for the death of Susan Berman, whose body was discovered in her West Los Angeles home on Christmas Eve in 2000, authorities said.
Berman, a friend from graduate school, served as Durst’s spokeswoman after his first wife disappeared, according to the New York Times.
Durst, 71, was questioned but not charged in the death of Kathleen Durst in 1982, and he was acquitted of murder in a third case in 2001.
In the final installment of the HBO series, Durst was talking to himself when he appeared to say he carried out all three killings.
The documentary showed an interview session during which he rejected a piece of evidence against him. Durst then went to the bathroom wearing the microphone, apparently unaware he was still being taped when he whispered, “There it is, you’re caught… What a disaster.”
He added: “What the hell did I do? Killed them all, of course.”
It was not immediately clear whether the documentary played a role in Durst’s arrest a day before the finale aired. Filmmakers said they were in contact with law enforcement.
“As a result of investigative leads and additional evidence that has come to light in the past year, investigators have identified Robert Durst as the person responsible for Ms. Berman’s death,” Los Angeles police said in a statement.
Matthew Galluzzo, a defense lawyer and former prosecutor in New York, said the recording is “probably admissible” in court. The only way Durst’s lawyers could challenge it, aside from showing that the recording had been tampered with, would be to assert that the filmmakers acted as agents of law enforcement.
If the journalists were acting as private individuals, Durst would not be able to argue that he had an expectation of privacy under the U.S. Constitution’s Fourth Amendment, which only applies to government action, Galluzzo said.
Durst, who is estranged from the family that controls one of New York’s largest real estate empires, also inspired the 2010 Hollywood movie “All Good Things.”
The Durst Organization oversees the lease and maintenance of One World Trade Center, the western hemisphere’s tallest skyscraper, built on the site of the twin towers destroyed in al Qaeda’s hijacked airliner attack on Sept. 11, 2001.
The company says it owns 11 Manhattan office towers.
“We are relieved and also grateful to everyone who assisted in the arrest of Robert Durst,” said his brother, Douglas Durst. “We hope he will finally be held accountable for all he has done.”
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