On Saturday, March 14, 2015, Robert Durst, the son of a New York City real estate mogul, was arrested in connection to the 2000 murder of Susan Berman and the 1982 disappearance of his ex-wife, Kathleen Durst. Durst’s arrest occurred after filmmakers of the HBO series The Jinx, overheard Durst confess that he “had killed them all” while Durst was wearing a live microphone. The Jinx is an HBO miniseries that closely investigated Durst’s involvement in his ex-wife’s disappearance and the death of Berman.
Robert Durst first broke into national headlines after his wife Kathleen was declared missing in 1982. Although many speculated that he was involved in her disappearance, Durst maintained his innocence throughout the search for Kathleen.
Durst again made national headlines in 2001 after he was found posing as a mute woman in Galveston, Texas during the investigation into the death of a man named Morris Black. Durst had apparently fled to Texas after authorities began pursuing new leads in his ex-wife’s case.
After Durst was found shoplifting in Pennsylvania, he was charged with Black’s murder. Although he admitted to dismembering Black’s body, Durst claimed that Black was accidentally killed when the two men grappled over Durst’s handgun. Durst’s self-defense claim worked and he was acquitted of the murder charge.
Durst’s continued presence in national headlines drew many to suspect his involvement in the 2000 murder of Berman. After meeting during graduate school, Durst and Berman became good friends and remained close until Berman’s death. At the time of Berman’s death, she was scheduled to be questioned by police regarding Kathleen’s disappearance. Many speculated that Berman was privy to Durst’s secrets and he killed her to keep them buried.
Although Robert Durst cannot be retried for the 2001 murder of Morris Black, he can be tried for Kathleen’s disappearance and the murder of Berman. The meticulous research of The Jinx has provided the prosecution with a large amount of new evidence, including Durst’s microphone confession. While some are worried that the confession could be ruled inadmissible, criminal law professors argue that the prosecution only needs to show that the tape was not tampered with for it to be admissible.