Long before Robert Durst was in the news for the explosive HBO documentary “The Jinx” and his recent arrest, the 71-year-old real estate heir gripped the nation in 2003 whileon trial for the murder and dismemberment of his Galveston, Texas, neighbour, Morris Black.
While many considered the case a “slam dunk” in finally putting Durst behind bars after the murder of his best friend and “disappearance” of his wife 21 years prior, Durst’s high-powered defence attorney claimed self-defence and he was acquitted of murder.
Those who had been following the high-profile case went nuts after the verdict, including Jon Stewart.
In a 2003 “Daily Show” clip titled “Where’s The Head?” Stewart says, “There’s one case we need to talk about and that’s the multimillionare Robert Durst, who had been all trial for — well, it’s kind of a funny story — dismembering his neighbour. Things didn’t look good for him after he admitted to dismembering his neighbour, but yesterday he was acquitted by a jury.”
“And since he’s from New York, that’s gotten quite a bit of play here in the city, so I wanted to show you some of the headlines.”
“The New York Times, generally not known for their ironic, humorous take on things — “New York City Real Estate Heir Is Acquitted of Murder in Texas: Durst, who cut up a body, argued self defence” — that’s as close as the New York Times will come to making a joke on the front page. That’s like the New York Times just going, ‘Can you f—— believe it?!”
“But here’s what’s so wonderful about New York, the different newspapers give you different takes.For instance, there was a slightly more subtle approach from the Daily News.”
“And of course the New York Post strikes a more cautionary pose–‘Run For Your Lives!'”
“So, the guy who cut up his neighbour is free — go justice system!”
On Saturday, Durstwas arrested by FBI agents at a New Orleans hotel, a day before the final episode of the HBO series “The Jinx” aired.
“FBI agents believed Durst may have wanted to flee the country, possibly to Cuba, as he registered under an alias at the hotel, paid with cash, and was found with fake documents,” according to ABC News. Coincidentally, Saturday marked the first nonstop flight from New Orleans to Cuba since 1958, as pointed out by nola.com.
According to Reuters:
Durst was formally charged on Monday in the first-degree murder of a longtime friend, writer Susan Berman, in a 15-year-old cold case. Also on Monday, Durst agreed to be extradited to Los Angeles County from New Orleans.
He could face the death penalty in the case, which was filed by Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey with special circumstances. He is accused of murdering Berman two days before Christmas in 2000.
Long estranged from his powerful family with its major New York real estate holdings, the eccentric Durst has been tried and acquitted in the death of another person in Texas and was a suspect in the disappearance of his wife…
He was taken into custody the day before his chilling statement aired during the final minutes of the HBO series.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.