When cops caught up with fugitive Robert Durst in Pennsylvania in 2001, they made a frightening – and previously undisclosed – discovery in the trunk of his rental car:
Along with two guns, ammo and a wad of cash, Durst was carrying directions to the Connecticut house of a former family friend – the woman who’s tried for years to prove that Durst killed his first wife back in 1982.
A law-enforcement source, who told me about the discovery yesterday, believes that Durst – on trial for one murder and a suspect in two others – intended to do this woman serious harm.
“I think he was going to off her as well,” the source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The woman in question is Gilberte Najamy.
She is one of the last people to see Durst’s first wife, Kathie, on the night she disappeared from the face of the earth.
Durst has long denied he killed her. But Kathie’s friends say she endured beatings at her hubby’s hands and threatened to hit back where it hurts – in Durst’s pocketbook – by filing for divorce. And they maintain that he got away with murder.
Gilberte spoke out repeatedly against Durst after Westchester authorities reopened Kathie’s case in 1999.
The next year, Durst’s longtime buddy, Susan Berman, was found murdered in Los Angeles. The man she called “Bobby” is a suspect in her slaying as well.
“Oh, my God,” Gilberte said when I reached her yesterday and broke the news about Durst’s apparent travel plans.
“Oh, my God!” she repeated, before reciting a phrase that’s become all too familiar.
“I’m under a gag order, and I can’t say anything,” said Gilberte.
Potential witnesses in this case have been bound and gagged tighter than bondage enthusiasts in one of Durst’s favorite Galveston gay bars, Garza’s Kon Tiki, because of a judge’s shut-up order.
But Gilberte would say this: “I’m going to buy some locks.”
Durst, whose family owns a multibillion-dollar real-estate empire, was fond of firearms and wearing women’s wigs. Running from his shady past, he wound up here, in this grimy Texas town that feels poised on the edge of the planet.
Here is where Durst is currently standing trial on charges he shot and butchered his elderly neighbor, Morris Black, while living in a cheap apartment, disguised as a mute, old lady.
The defense offered by Durst’s high-priced, cowboy-boot-wearing lawyers is that he killed Black in self-defense.
Poor little rich Bobby, his defense goes. Durst is being painted as the victim – of Jeanine Pirro, a “politically ambitious lady district attorney from Westchester County,” in the words of his 10-gallon- hat-wearing lawyer, Dick DeGuerin.
Is Durst nuts? Not if he has anything to say about it, according to tapes of Durst’s jailhouse phone calls.
He’d prefer being locked up for life and maintain his family fortune, than being declared insane and losing everything.