Los Angeles County prosecutors filed court papers Tuesday seeking to admit into evidence comments by New York real estate scion Robert Durst on the DVD commentary of a movie based on him, saying the comments amount to a tacit admission of guilt in a series of killings.
Durst, 75, is charged with killing his former friend Susan Berman, who was found dead in her Benedict Canyon home on Christmas Eve 2000. Prosecutors theorize that Durst killed Berman, 55, because she was about to be questioned by New York police in a renewed investigation into the 1982 disappearance of his first wife, Kathleen “Kathie” Durst.
In court papers filed Tuesday, prosecutors said they want to introduce as evidence comments made by Durst on the DVD of the 2010 Ryan Gosling film “All Good Things,” which prosecutors say was admittedly fictional but “was specifically based and marketed as the story of the disappearance and death of Robert Durst’s … wife, the subsequent murder of his best friend and the killing of his neighbor and confidante in Texas.”
Prosecutors contend that after reading the script and seeing the movie, Durst actually praised the film and agreed to be interviewed for the DVD commentary, during which he says the film “was very, very, very close in much of the ways about what, pretty much, happened,” according to the court document.
“The movie pulled no punches,” prosecutors wrote in the court filing. “It made clear that the character based on defendant had personally killed his wife in New York, planned and directed the murder of his best friend in California and personally murdered his neighbor in Texas. The movie further alleged that defendant’s spree of violence had begun years earlier with the senseless killing of his dog.”
Prosecutors argue in the court papers that Durst’s comments on the DVD are “adoptive admissions” that were “freely, knowingly, voluntarily and intelligently made” by Durst.
There has been no immediate response from Durst’s attorneys.
Durst has been behind bars since his arrest March 14, 2015, in a New Orleans hotel room. He was taken into custody hours before the airing of the final episode of “The Jinx,” which examined the disappearance of his wife, and the killings of Berman and a Texas neighbor, Morris Black, in 2001.
Durst went on trial for Black’s death after a nationwide manhunt in which he was located in Pennsylvania, but a jury acquitted him of murder after agreeing with Durst’s contention that he had killed his neighbor in self-defense.
In the finale of “The Jinx,” Durst was apparently caught on microphone saying to himself, “Killed them all, of course,” and “There it is, you’re caught.”
He has been long estranged from his real estate-rich family, known for ownership of a series of New York City skyscrapers — including an investment in the World Trade Center. He split with the family when his younger brother was placed in charge of the family business, leading to a drawn-out legal battle.
According to various media reports, Durst ultimately reached a settlement under which the family paid him $60 million to $65 million.
A preliminary hearing is continuing for Durst to determine if there is enough evidence for him to stand trial.
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