“I truly, truly want to express my statement that I am not guilty of killing Susan Berman,” Durst told a federal judge on Wednesday.
It has been over a year since Robert Durst was arrested in New Orleans, hours before the damning finale episode of Andrew Jarecki’s HBO mini-series, The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst—complete with seeming murder confessions—aired. At the time of his arrest, Durst, a convicted felon, was found with a .38-caliber revolver, and has since been entangled in court proceedings over the illegal weapon which have stalled the murder trial The Jinx viewers have been anticipating. But on Wednesday, a New Orleans judge approved a plea deal that will send the eccentric real-estate heir to Los Angeles to finally face murder charges.
The New York Times reports that Judge [Kurt] D. Engelhardt approved a defense motion in federal court on Wednesday to send the 73-year-old to Terminal Island minimum-security federal prison outside Los Angeles. The prison is noted for past infamous inmates including Al Capone, Charles Manson, and Timothy Leary. There, Durst will “await formal arraignment by August 18 on murder charges in the killing of his confidante, Susan Berman.”
Durst, who entered and left the courtroom in a wheelchair, expressed anticipation about the move to the West Coast, telling the judge that he has been “wanting to get to Los Angeles for almost a year to enter my not guilty plea.” According to Reuters, Durst continued, “I truly, truly want to express my statement that I am not guilty of killing Susan Berman.”
Durst’s attorney Dick DeGuerin told reporters that his client could move to California within four to six weeks.
Per the Times, “The judge also approved a prior plea bargain arrangement, in which Mr. Durst was sentenced to 85 months in prison for illegally possessing a .38-caliber revolver.”
In other Durst-related news, Jarecki’s The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst won a Peabody Award earlier this week in the documentary category. The fascinating project memorably ended with what seemed to be an explosive confession by Durst, who did not realize he was still wearing a microphone during a break from interviews.
“What the hell did I do?” Durst asked himself after interrogations by Jarecki about the mysterious disappearance of his wife and the murder of confidante Susan Berman. “Killed them all, of course,” Durst continued.
Hours before the finale aired, police arrested Durst in New Orleans, where he was discovered in possession of a significant amount of marijuana, $44,000 in cash, a Mission Impossible–style latex mask, a fake I.D., and passport. Prosecutors believed he may have been planning to flee to Cuba.
Written by Julie Miller (Vanity Fair)