Tag Archives: Robert Durst

Killed Them All? Did Robert Durst Kill More Than Three Victims?

Originally published by ANewDomain.net:

Dead-eyed mass murder suspect Robert Durst’s riveting open-mic soliloquy in the last episode of HBO’s “The Jinx” true-crime miniseries places him at the center of a media frenzy that obsessed over a dramatic couplet that may or may not constitute a confession: “What the hell did I do? Killed them all, of course.”

Who is or who was this “all?”

How many?

Lost in the haze of discussion and debate about this “Gone Girl”-esque mash-up of infotainment and policing — the cops arrested him the day of the documentary’s finale — is another line uttered by Durst in that restroom, one that has been ignored by the media:

“But, you can’t imagine.”

Can’t imagine what?

Here’s a complete transcript of Durst talking to himself:

There it is. You’re caught. You’re right, of course. But, you can’t imagine. Arrest him. I don’t know what’s in the house. Oh, I want this. What a disaster. He was right. I was wrong. And the burping. I’m having difficulty with the question ‘What the hell did I do?’ Killed them all, of course.”

Usually, like when news anchors were blaming Al Qaeda within hours after the 9/11 attacks, the media speculates too much. This time, a failure to speculate may be missing a bigger story: that Durst may have killed more than three people.

“You can’t imagine.” What did Durst mean?

There are several ways to interpret that. The first one that came to my mind was: You can’t imagine how much bigger this is…how many more victims there really are.

Durst has been charged with the 2000 execution-style murder of his friend Susan Berman, possibly to prevent her from testifying against him about the disappearance and presumed murder of his first wife, Kathleen, in 1982. He killed and chopped up a neighbor’s body in Texas in 2003. A Texas jury declared it self-defense and acquitted him.

robert durstAssuming that Durst killed all three, the 18-year gap between the Kathleen Durst and Susan Berman murders would be unusual. It wouldn’t be unprecedented — California’s Lonnie Franklin Jr. earned the nickname the “Grim Sleeper” due to a 13-year space between killings of sex workers. Still, 18 years is a long time for a serial killer to refrain from taking a life.

In several respects, Durst fits the typical profile of a psychopathic serial killer more than of a man who killed his wife in a fit of range during a domestic dispute. This includes a history of cruelty to animals that predates his first known killing.

His brother Douglas, who lived in fear of his brother, claims that as a young man Robert owned seven malamutes, all named Igor, who “died, mysteriously, of different things, within six months of his owning them. We don’t know how they died, and what happened to their bodies. In retrospect, I now believe he was practicing killing and disposing his wife with those dogs.”

Durst reportedly used the term “doing an Igor” to refer to murdering someone.

The judge who presided over Robert’s trial in the Texas case found “a perfectly clean and preserved cat head cut up by someone who knew what they were doing” at her front door after his acquittal. She believes it was Durst.

Serial killers sometimes mark their territory. Douglas’ break with his brother moved toward finality in the 1990s, when he discovered that Robert had been urinating in the wastepaper basket at the New York real estate company where both worked.

Robert was considered a “prime suspect” in the 1997 disappearance of Karen Mitchell, 16, in Eureka, California. He was never charged.

“You can’t imagine.”

Robert Durst and ‘The Jinx’: Is watching TV the future of detective work?

Originally published by The Los Angeles Times:The Future of Detective Work

 

Police forces are constantly looking at new technology and new methods for catching criminals: DNA, drones, flying helicopters over high-crime areas to discourage the bad guys from carrying out their dastardly deeds. Could there be a new means of nailing suspects: watching TV?

Last weekend’s arrest of Robert Durst, the New York real estate scion who has been implicated in the deaths of three people over three decades, makes me wonder about that in this week’s cartoon.

Durst has been suspected of being involved in the 1982 disappearance and presumed death of his first wife and now has been charged with the killing of a friend, Susan Berman, in Los Angeles in 2000. He shot and dismembered a neighbor in Texas in 2001 but was acquitted, claiming it was self-defense.

While filming a six-part HBO documentary called “The Jinx,” Durst apparently failed to realize that his microphone was still “hot” (live) when he went to the restroom. Talking to himself, he asks rhetorically, like something out of a tale by Edgar Allan Poe, “What the hell did I do? Killed them all, of course.”

It isn’t clear whether this qualifies as a confession, at least enough to sway a jury, or whether it’s admissible in court. It also isn’t known whether this statement led to the request to the FBI by Los Angeles police to arrest Durst at a New Orleans hotel where he was staying under a false name, and to ask that he be extradited to California. Whatever the details, the revelation in the sixth and final episode of the documentary was pretty much as blockbuster as blockbuster gets – and it probably isn’t going to help him if and when he gets to trial.

Though the families of Durst’s alleged victims and the detectives who have been trying to nab him for years are no doubt pleased that he may be about to face justice for his alleged crimes, they must be a little frustrated that it was a true-crime documentary rather than traditional police work that finally did the job. That said, the police contributed mightily to where things currently stand.

The Durst case is unusual in several respects, none more than the open-mike gaffe. Generally speaking, alleged serial killers with a run dating back to the Reagan years don’t stay free by absentmindedly blabbing — even if it is to themselves in that most private of places.

In the end, it may not have been so much the cliché that Durst wanted to get caught as his succumbing to his outsize ego by agreeing to do the documentary and by taunting the authorities, like a real-life Hannibal Lecter. “Bob doesn’t seem to feel totally comfortable unless he’s at risk,” one of the documentarians told an interviewer. “He seems to like to put himself at risk. It may make him feel more vital. It may be something he’s just compelled to grasp for. In this case, we felt he had a kind of compulsion to confess.”

Sadly for detectives, murder suspects aren’t usually wired for thrills.