Millionaire Robert Durst will be investigated for multiple murders after being arrested in New Orleans for the 2000 murder of Susan Berman. When he was apprehended by the FBI in a New Orleans motel room he was reported to be wielding a Smith and Wesson .38 caliber revolver, as well as holding five ounces of marijuana. Berman was shot in the back of the head in her Los Angeles home on December 23, 2000, but her body was not found for another day. Berman was a college friend and long time confidant of Durst. Following a court ruling, he will be expected to be extradited back to Los Angeles where he will face capital murder charges, and possibly the death penalty, if convicted. He was also accused of being involved in the disappearance of his wife Kathie in 1982, as well as being acquitted of killing and dismembering his neighbor in 2003.
His extradition to California may have to wait as Durst faces charges in New Orleans. He was charged in New Orleans with possession of a firearm by a felon as well as possession of a firearm with a controlled substance. He is currently being held in the Orleans Parish Jail without bail.
Orleans Parish district attorney’s office spokesman Christopher Bowman declined to comment on the possibility of Durst being prosecuted in New Orleans before his extradition to Los Angeles. Bowman was quoted saying “We’re still evaluating the case.” Prosecutors in New Orleans are well within their rights to hold, and try, Durst before he is sent back to Los Angeles. This does not mean that they necessarily will delay the extradition to prosecute him. Typically, in cases involving capital murder the suspect will have to answer for the more serious crimes first.
Currently Durst is being housed in a mental health facility. He was deemed a suicide risk and is considered to be at risk of acute mental illness. He was recommended to Elayn Hunt Correctional Center by Col. Michael Laughlin, the local jails warden. He will remain at the facility until it is certain that he will be extradited to face capital murder charges in California.
While the New Orleans case is settled law enforcement across the country is taking a long hard look at Durst. The FBI has called on detectives from across the country to look into cases that could have possibly been perpetrated by Durst. Naturally these searches will be limited to areas where he lived. One case that could be linked to him is the disappearance of a California teen. Karen Mitchell went missing in November of 1997. Mitchell lived in the town of Eureka California and was 16 years old at the time of her disappearance. Durst is being looked at by the Eureka police for the disappearance.
Durst is suspected of killing Berman so she could not go to the police with evidence to use against him in the case of his missing wife. Death seems to follow him wherever he goes, but no charges ever seem to stick. Now with the capital murder charges in place it looks as though Durst’s luck has ended.
By James Dixson
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