Linda Walker Zevallos was going through a divorce in the late 1990′s, before she got into Real Estate. She went to New York City for a national newspaper convention. She flew back to Dallas first class and sat right next to the man now on suicide watch in New Orleans and suspected of murdering three people, including one in Galveston whose body was meticulously dismembered. Linda sat right next to Robert Durst.
“I asked if I could read his newspaper once he had finished it,” she said. “He said of course. Then we started to talk. We talked about my divorce. He was very nice but he did say one weird thing,”
That weird thing was advising Linda to break into her estranged husband’s office to steal his financials for the divorce.
On the plane he also told Linda a friend of his ex-wife was missing.
“We didn’t have google back then,” says Linda, “so I thought it was maybe a little strange, but never researched it.”
Next Durst asked her if she had a car at the airport, if she could give him a ride home. She couldn’t as she had to pick up her son. Once off the airplane, Durst asked Linda if she would you go out him sometime?
“I’m in Dallas and I don’t know anybody,” he told her.
Linda said she would have to think about it, as she was in the midst of her divorce.
The next day Robert Durst sent her $500 worth of orchids. His phone number was on the card, asking her to call him.
She didn’t hear from him for awhile, but he eventually called and asked her to lunch. He was living at the Centrum.
They met at his Centrum condo where he offered champagne (Linda said it was too early) and walked across the street to Eatzies for lunch.
“He was as nice as he could be,” she said. After lunch, they got stuck in a torrential rain downpour. They were sopping wet, trying to duck out of the rain under awnings, but it had been a very pleasant lunch. She left after they got back to the Centrum.
“He was interested in me,” says Linda. “He called me shortly after that.”
In his apartment, Linda says he had real estate “things” all over the walls. He had a place in San Francisco and New York. At first he told Linda he was a labor lawyer, then he told her that his father had built office buildings in Times Square.
Next Durst called and said he wanted to take Linda to a nice place for dinner, perhaps Stephan Pyles’ then-restaurant in the Centrum building. It happened to snow that day, and school was closed, which meant Linda had to stay home with her 13 year old son. She had to cancel the date.
“When I cancelled, he got furious, really mad,” says Linda. “He said ‘I cannot believe you people in Dallas when it snows you just stop”.”
She hung up. He later called back and apologized as the restaurant had cancelled and closed due to weather. Durst wanted to come to her house and go to a restaurant near her home that might be open. Linda said, I have my son. Durst said that was fine. He came by her home and picked them up in his little silver car.
As they drove to Preston Royal, Durst said –
“Oh I forgot to tell you, there are two guns in the back seat of my car.” With her 13 year old son!
” I had a fit,” said Linda. “I started to become leary of him at Daddy Jacks. My son and I talked the whole time. Bob just sat and watched us. My son ordered steak and lobster, and I said no that was too much, but Bob said let him order what he wants. He just sat and watched us talk. When he called the next day, he said to me, you and your son are actually friends. I was raised by a governess.”
Durst had surgery on his shoulder. He called Linda and said, I’m not sure if I should pay my doctor. Of course you should pay your doctor, Linda told him.
Next he wanted to take her to a movie during the day. It turned out to be an old show about Cullen Davis. Then Linda went to Cape Cod for the summer.
When she returned, he called and they had dinner out again. While ordering, Linda said she wanted sea bass. Durst said that’s what he was going to order, told her to order something else. Linda said no, that’s what I want to eat. She ordered it.
Durst kicked her under the table. She was ready to leave but as they sat, his mood improved. After dinner they drove by a home she was thinking of leasing near Good Shepherd school. The next day she received the letter above from Durst, sent to her by courier.
Durst next called her in August, and stopped by her home while it was filled with kids — her college aged son, her younger son and their friends. Durst was doing something in McKinney in Real Estate. He stopped by on his way home. Her sons met him. He seemed nervous with all the kids over, says Linda, or concerned about their size — Durst was a small man. She answered the phone briefly and when she came back, Durst was going through her purse.
What are you doing? she asked?
“Oh I was just moving your purse,” he said.
Then he was very anxious about wanting to rent a movie from Blockbusters, a new release called American Psycho.
Before he left, Durst asked if Linda could make arrangements for him to play tennis at her club, T Bar M on Thursday. Linda did not even call the club. But she did rent American Psycho and was so disgusted she could watch only 5 minutes of the video.
The next day Durst called and said, I played tennis at your club today, I took a lesson and charged it to you.
“I told him to settle his bill with my tennis club and to never call me again.”
About a week later Linda’s son got a call from Durst, pretending to be a Realtor and saying he wanted to come take a look at the house. Linda’s son told him the home had sold.
Linda started freaking out and was now worried about his behavior and her safety. Again, she knew NOTHING of his past except that his mother had committed suicide when he was seven.
“I think he has a real hard time handling rejection,” says Linda. “he cannot bear it.” She moved out of her home. He called her from San Francisco and New York City until November, she never answered. In December, he got married.
“His wife was Debbie, she was in real estate in New York City,” says Linda. “I’d hear him talk to her on the phone. He also talked to his sister, Wendy. And Susan would call. He told me he sent her some money.”
Once Linda wanted to use the bathroom in Durst’s Centrum condo, and she headed for the powder room near the kitchen. Durst stopped her, saying it was dirty.
“The floor was concrete,” says Linda, “and there was a saw in there, on a stand.” Linda never saw any pets or animals.
“He could be really nice and then really mean,” says Linda. “When the house I was going to rent fell through, Bob offered to let my son and me live in his high rise. He also only writes in green ink.”