Accused murderer Robert Durst, who is the subject of HBO’s The Jinx documentary series, the final episode of which airs Sunday night, was arrested Saturday in New Orleans, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed.
The real estate heir was taken into custody on a first-degree murder warrant out of Los Angeles, the New Orleans police department confirmed. He is being held without bond.
The New York Times recently reported that the Los Angeles County D.A. had reopened its investigation into his role in the death of Susan Berman, a friend of Durst’s who was killed around Christmas in 2000.
Durst has been suspected of killing Berman and his wife Kathie Durst, who disappeared in 1982. He stood trial for the 2001 murder of neighbor Morris Black, whom Durst admitted to dismembering, but he claimed he killed Black in self-defense.
Berman was shot dead execution-style. Although Durst was a suspect in her murder, the police never had definitive evidence placing him in Los Angeles on the day she was killed, the Times explains. He was also suspected of writing an anonymous note to the Beverly Hills Police Department alerting them to a “cadaver” at Berman’s house, which was postmarked the day California officials believe the murder occurred. Police previously tried to compare Durst’s handwriting with the “cadaver” note and a bullet fired from a gun found in his car with the bullet that killed Berman, but both proved “inconclusive.”
However, in the fifth episode of The Jinx, which aired March 8, Berman’s stepson calls one of the documentary’s producers, Marc Smerling, to say he discovered a 1999 letter from Durst to Berman in which the handwriting on the envelope appears to match the lettering on the “cadaver” note, and Beverly Hills is misspelled as “Beverley” on both notes.
When asked about the “cadaver” note in The Jinx, Durst said that whoever wrote it took a “big risk. You’re writing a note to the police that only the killer could have written.”
The Times reports that in recent weeks investigators from L.A. and one from the New York State Police as well as FBI agents have interviewed witnesses in New York City. New York State Police Investigator Joseph C. Becerra told the Times that the investigation into Kathie Durst’s disappearance has been and continues to be an ongoing case.
Durst contacted Jinx director Andrew Jarecki shortly before the release of the 2010 fictional movie based on his life, All Good Things, starring Ryan Gosling and Kirsten Dunst. Durst wanted to tell his story to Jarecki, and The Jinx is the result of those conversations. Sunday’s final episode of the documentary series explores Kathie Durst’s disappearance, Berman’s murder, and the killing and dismemberment of Black.
Following Durst’s arrest, HBO issued a press release commending the team behind The Jinx. “We simply cannot say enough about the brilliant job that Andrew Jarecki and Marc Smerling did in producing The Jinx,” reads the statement. “Years in the making, their thorough research and dogged reporting reignited interest in Robert Durst’s story with the public and law enforcement.”
Jarecki said at the miniseries’ premiere in New York that after the final episode, “You’re going to know what happened.”
March 15, 1:45 p.m. Updated with HBO’s press release.