On Oct. 9, 2001 Durst was arrested in Galveston, Texas and charged with the murder of an elderly neighbor, Morris Black, after Black’s dismembered body was found floating in Galveston Bay. Durst was released on $300,000 and he immediately went on the lam, failing to appear at a court hearing on Oct. 16. He was nabbed in Bethlehem, Pa., on Nov. 30, 2001 when he was arrested for shoplifting a chicken salad sandwich, Band-Aids and a newspaper from a Wegmans supermarket. He had $500 of cash on him during the shoplifting incident and another $37,000 in cash (along with two guns, pot and Black’s driver’s license) was discovered in his rental car in the parking lot.
In 2003 he beat the Texas murder charge despite admitting to butchering Black’s body using a knife, axe and two saws and placing the body parts in garbage bags and dumping them in the bay. Durst testified that Black, who had a local reputation as being extremely confrontational, had threatened him with a .22-caliber pistol and the weapon went off during a struggle, killing his neighbor. Durst was acquitted of the murder charge, although he did plead guilty to bond jumping and evidence tampering. He received a five-year sentence and was released on parole in 2005. Durst violated the parole terms and was returned to jail before being released again on March 1, 2006.
Durst “has been incredibly lucky that so many people who’ve investigated him have dropped the ball, but I think that luck may be running out,” said former Galveston County District Court Judge Susan Criss, who presided over the Texas murder trial.