Tag Archives: suspect

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.”

Drone Nation Is Coming

Armed drone warfare has radically altered the nation of warfare. No longer are there multiple combatants. Now there is the hunter and the prey. It’s only a matter of time before drones are used the same way in the United States as they are used abroad.

SYNDICATED COLUMN: You’ll Get Arrested Someday. Will You Survive?

Are you male? The odds say you’ll be arrested by the police at least once.

What happens to Americans after the cops slap on the cuffs, therefore, is not an intellectual exercise, or a matter of liberal guilt. It doesn’t just happen to other people.

You. It could happen to you.

It’s happened to me twice in the United States, and more times than I can count in foreign dictatorships. (In Third World countries, it’s usually corrupt cops shaking you down for a bribe.) On each occasion, I was thunderstruck by an overwhelming sense of helplessness.

No one knew where I was.

I was trapped.  Think this is a democracy? Think again. Whether you’re in Turkmenistan or the United States, victims of arrest are every bit as “disappeared” as if they were living under Orwell’s dystopian Big Brother.

Your family doesn’t know where you are.

You don’t show up to work — so you might lose your job.

If you need medication to live, you may die because the cops won’t give it to you.

When I was arrested, the policemen could have done anything they wanted to me — beat me up, rape me, even murder me — and get away with it. They didn’t. But they could.

That’s not a good feeling.

It’s certainly not a feeling you should have to experience for trivial offenses. (My case #1: arrested for possession of marijuana. Not mine. My friend’s. Because he was in the same car as me when I got pulled over for forgetting to turn on my headlights at night. My case #2: pulled over for speeding. Arrested for a suspended license. Which had been suspended in error.)

This kind of thing should not be a death sentence. A Justice Department study found that more than 2,000 criminal suspects died in police custody over a three-year period. Fifty-five percent were ruled as homicides by police officers.

Christopher J. Mumola, who authored the study, notes that most people make it out physically unharmed. “Keep in mind we have 2,000 deaths out of almost 40 million arrests over three years, so that tells you by their nature they are very unusual cases,” said Mumola.

But that’s still too many. And jail is still a gratuitously terrible experience. Guaranteed constitutional rights — to legal representation, a speedy trial and to communicate with the outside world –are routinely denied. Detectives bully and harangue suspects past the limit of human endurance, frequently extracting false confessions from innocent men and women. Basic needs, including access to medication, are often ignored.

Some conservatives will counter that the police shouldn’t coddle suspects. That if you do the crime, be prepared to do the time. But that’s precisely the point: under U.S. law, suspects haven’t done any crime. Until a judge or jury delivers a guilty verdict, arrestees are innocent under the law.

The Miranda decision — the last major reform that improved life for those who get arrested — is a half-century old. It’s time to update the rules to bring the experience of getting arrested in line with the high-flying rhetoric of human rights enshrined under U.S. law and with common decency.

You have the right to communicate.

     Or you should. In New York City, for example, suspects being processed through Central Booking are supposed to be allowed to place three local phone calls for free. In New York and most other municipalities, this right is routinely delayed.

“Disappearing” people is unworthy of a modern nation-state. It’s also dangerous. What happens to children waiting for their parents to pick them up after school when they don’t show up?

“Prepare yourself and your family in case you are arrested. Memorize the phone numbers of your family and your lawyer,” advises the ACLU. But in the age of the cellphone, many people don’t know important phone numbers by heart.

Suspects should be permitted to keep their cellphones, and use them as much as they want, while waiting to be indicted or released.

     You have the right to your meds.

Cops are extraordinarily cavalier about the health of the people they arrest. Members of Occupy Wall Street arrested in 2011 reported that jail guards in Manhattan routinely jeopardized their health. “At one point,” wrote Dave Korn, “the cops wheeled out a stretcher holding one of our girls; she was lying motionless, oxygen tubes connected to her face.  She had been denied her medication and was now unconscious.  The stretcher was left in the hallways, and cops were either walking past or photographing her.” A 22-year-old Washington state man was arrested for misdemeanor marijuana possession and sent to jail. He told the authorities that he had an extreme food allergy. Cops fed him oatmeal anyway, and told him it was safe. “Over the next half hour, the video shows other inmates looking in Saffioti’s cell as he jumped up and down. The legal claim says he pressed his call button and was ignored,” reported local TV. He died.

Congress should pass a federal law guaranteeing Americans’ right to keep their medications with them if they’re arrested, as well as access to food conforming to their medical, dietary and religious needs.

You have the right to be speedily processed.

Anyone arrested in the U.S. is entitled to respect. Which includes the right to be charged or released quickly. In many jurisdictions, the 24-hour rule before seeing a judge is ignored — especially if you’re nabbed on a Friday night. Then it goes to 72 hours. Which is stupid. Jails don’t suspend business over weekends. Neither should the courts.

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Profiling the Mass Murderer

Friends and neighbors are shocked to learn the identity of the man suspected of coldly taking the lives of six people, all members of the same ethnic group. To those who keep track of extremist hate groups, however, the violence was not a surprise. For one thing, he was already under investigation for earlier, similar crimes