Robert Durst, the millionaire murder suspect awaiting extradition to Los Angeles, was indicted on two Louisiana gun charges Wednesday (April 8) by an Orleans Parish grand jury. Sources said Durst was ordered held without bond by Criminal District Court Judge Arthur Hunter.
The indictment charges Durst with being a felon in possession of a gun and possession of a gun in the presence of a controlled dangerous substance. The charges revolve around a loaded .38-caliber revolver and more than 5 ounces of marijuana that FBI agents and a state trooper said they found in his Canal Street hotel room when Durst was arrested March 14. Conviction on the charges could bring sentences ranging from five to 20 years in prison.
The filing of formal charges moves Durst’s case out of Judge Harry Cantrell’s magistrate court into Criminal District Court and cancels a preliminary hearing that was to resume Thursday, to determine whether probable cause existed for Durst’s arrest. The indictment also puts an indefinite hold on Durst’s extradition to California, where Los Angeles police are waiting to book the 71-year-old real estate scion with first-degree murder in the 2000 shooting death of writer Susan Berman.
Durst’s links to three suspected murders most recently were outlined in the the HBO documentary series “The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst.” Through attorney Dick DeGuerin, Durst has denied responsibility for Berman’s death.
DeGuerin is the Houston-based attorney who in 2003 helped Durst win acquittal by a Texas jury on a charge that he murdered his Galveston neighbor, Morris Black, in 2001. Durst admitted to shooting Black and dismembering his body, most of which later washed up inside trash bags in Galveston Bay. He was acquitted after asserting that he shot Black in self-defense. Black’s head never was recovered.
Durst also has been suspected in the still-unsolved disappearance of his first wife, Kathleen Durst, who vanished from the couple’s New York estate in 1982.