New York heir Durst pleads not guilty to mur­der

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - LOCAL NEWS - By Amanda Lee My­ers

LOS AN­GE­LES >> Wear­ing a neck brace and seated in a wheel­chair, look­ing pale and frail, real es­tate heir and doc­u­men­tary star Robert Durst pleaded not guilty to mur­der, more than a year and a half af­ter a live mi­cro­phone recorded him mut­ter­ing, “killed them all.”

The 73-year-old Durst en­tered the plea dur­ing a lon­gawaited ap­pear­ance Mon­day in a Los An­ge­les court­room in the death of Su­san Ber­man in 2000.

Author­i­ties say Ber­man was killed to keep her from talk­ing to in­ves­ti­ga­tors look­ing into the dis­ap­pear­ance of Durst’s first wife.

“I do want to say here and now, though, I am not guilty,” Durst said in a stand­ing-room-only court­room packed with jour­nal­ists. “I did not kill Su­san Ber­man.”

Durst’s state­ment came af­ter his at­tor­ney un­suc­cess­fully ar­gued to ban news me­dia cam­eras from the court­room.

Prose­cu­tors said they would not be seek­ing the death penalty against Durst.

Durst was al­ready a well­known fig­ure in his na­tive New York. But he be­came a na­tional name when HBO aired the doc­u­men­tary “The Jinx” that fol­lowed his life and cast sus­pi­cion on him in­volv­ing sev­eral crimes.

Los An­ge­les County prose­cu­tors have been seek­ing to bring Durst to Cal­i­for­nia since shortly af­ter his ar­rest in March 2015.

But he first faced a fed­eral weapons charge in New Or­leans, where he pleaded guilty in April then be­gan serv­ing a seven-year prison sen­tence in In­di­ana.

The ar­rest came just as the fi­nal episode of “The Jinx” was air­ing. The HBO doc­u­men­tary ex­am­ined al­leged ties to the killing of Ber­man and the death and dis­mem­ber­ment of his neigh­bor Mor­ris Black in 2001.

Durst tes­ti­fied that he killed Black in self-de­fense and was ac­quit­ted of mur­der.

Durst’s at­tor­ney, Dick DeGuerin, said Mon­day that Durst has been want­ing to face the Los An­ge­les charge for the past year and a half.

“We’re glad to be here, glad to get the pro­ceed­ings un­der­way,” DeGuerin said. “Bob is not guilty. He did not kill Su­san Ber­man, he doesn’t know who did and he’s ea­ger to go to trial.”

He de­clined to an­swer ques­tions from re­porters, in­clud­ing in­quiries about his client’s health. In Septem­ber, he said Durst was a can­cer sur­vivor, had brain surgery for hy­dro­cephalus and had two op­er­a­tions to fuse neck ver­te­brae, the most re­cent in mid-July.

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