Robert Durst, an estranged scion of one of New York's most prominent real estate dynasties, was arrested in New Orleans yesterday on murder charges. One grandson of the founder of the Durst Organization, a developer responsible for numerous game-changing towers across the city, from One World Trade Center to a tetrahedron-shaped rental goliath along the West Side Highway, 71-year-old Robert Durst (whose brother, Douglas, actually spearheads the family business) has a history of strange doings and dealings and has had more than one brush with murder cases and courtrooms in the past. That's what makes him such an intriguing character, and why HBO made a six-part documentary about his life and his role in two major unsolved killings of women close to himfriend Susan Berman and ex-wife Kathleen Durst. His Saturday arrest occurred just one day before The Jinx's finale, airing Sunday night at 8 p.m. on HBO.
Durst was acquitted of murdering and dismembering his neighbor in Galveston, Texas in 2002; he was also suspected of murdering his friend Susan Berman in LA in 2000, and Durst's wife went missing in Westchester County in 1982. Investigators apparently reopened the Susan Berman case, and new evidence was found linking him to it, so most media outlets suspect that his arrest is related to that incident.
Meanwhile, his scandal-free brother Douglas, who called Robert "a true psychopath" earlier this year, seems pretty happy about the whole situation, telling the Times that the family is "relieved and also grateful to everyone who assisted in the arrest of Robert Durst. We hope he will finally be held accountable for all he has done."
For more background, watch the show:
What makes The Jinx so watchable, but at the same time so unsettlingly lurid, is that it's examining a case where a man walked free: real-estate scion Robert Durst, acquitted of one murder and suspected, but never charged, in two others. Jarecki is no witch-hunter, but there's an unavoidable edge to the six-episode project, which wraps Sunday. The reclusive Durst, who agreed to speak to Jarecki for reasons that are hard to fully fathom, seems to be daring us to take a closer look, to poke at his supposed innocence. It's a challenge the reporter, and the audience, has risen to. Arrested and arraigned in New Orleans, Robert Durst will head back to Los Angeles, where the charges against him have been filed and where, his lawyer says, "we can get back and fight the charges." Stay tuned.
· Robert Durst of The Jinx's Family Real Estate Empire, Mapped [Curbed]
· All Robert Durst coverage [Curbed]
· All The Jinx coverage [Curbed]
· All Durst Organization coverage [Curbed]