Latest From Phil Shuman:
This is a story with many twists and turns. Those who've investigated Robert Durst don't hesitate to call him a ''serial murderer''. We know he's sitting in a mental health unit at a Louisiana State Prison, awaiting his next hearing there before being extradited (presumably) back to Los Angeles to face a murder charge in connection with the shooting death of his one time college friend Susan Berman.
Now comes word that he is once was, and now may be again, a suspect in the 1997 disappearances of two teenaged girls, Karen Mitchell from Eureka, and Kristin Modafferi from San Francisco . A private investigator who's spent years working on Robert Durst's past said of Berman, his ex-wife, and the former Texas neighbor Morris Black, ''These three people.. one we know has been murdered, too we believe he's murdered. I don't think those are the only ones."
Bacha, who runs Blue Moon Investigations in Texas (bluemooninvestigations.com) told me she's long known of the possible connection between Durst and those two missing girls. Apparently, Durst was placed in the areas of their disappearance at the time, investigators looked into it, but never arrested or charged him.
No comment today from the various authorities in those two cases, but Modafferi's father, speaking from the family home in Charlotte North Carolina released a statement to the local TV stations there saying " It's possible that the ongoing interrogation of Durst, by law enforcement that's taking place right now, could uncover new information that could be of value and lead to the truth about what happened to Kristen." And as former D.A. from Westchester County NY, where Durst's wife disappeared, Jeanine Pirro said, and Pirro , who went from the D.A's office to being a Judge to now her high profile Fox News hosting job, said '' The wheels of justice are turning.'' True. But as always, slowly
Those who know the now 71-year-old Robert Durst, heir to a New York real estate fortune, say he seems to love the attention he's received over the years, most of it negative. Why else would someone who's been acquited of one murder, suspected of two others, but still walking free, voluntarily agree to more than 25 hours of interviews so he could be featured in a documentary about his life called ‘‘The Jinx'' on HBO?
Surely his attorneys advised him against it. Well, he's gotten plenty of attention now. As you, no doubt, have heard if you've been following the news since this weekend, Durst is under arrest in New Orleans on a Los Angeles warrant for the cold case 2000 murder of an old friend of his named Susan Berman. She was found Christmas Eve of that year, with a bullet to the back of the head, in her small rental home deep in Benedict Canyon on the edge of Beverly Hills. At the time the focus of the investigation was on her being a ‘‘mob daughter'', as her father had Vegas mobster connections back in the day. It went nowhere.
Now the theory put forth by the D.A.'s office is her friend "Bobby'' killed her to keep her from telling authorities what she knew about the still-unsolved disappearance of Durst's then-wife Katherine back in New York in 1982. So here we are. But before Durst gets on a plane back here to L.A., there's a little matter of resolving new charges in New Orleans. Seems when he was arrested in the lobby of a Marriott hotel there, he had a revolver and a quarter pound of marijuana in his room. He's now a ‘‘felon in possession of a gun ‘' and had enough drugs to be accused of being a seller. It is likely those charges will take a literal and figurative back seat to the obviously more serious murder case here, but it takes time. Durst's lawyers are good. They got him acquited back in 2001, a year after the Berman case, in the murder of his 71-year-old Texas neighbor, an unfortunate man named Morris Black. Durst claimed self-defense during a struggle over a gun.
He also admitted to chopping up Mr. Black, but didn't remember the particulars of why because he says he was so drunk. So, we have a fascinating character about to be the focus, perhaps, of yet another sensational L.A. ‘‘celebrity'' murder trial, if indeed he ever gets back here. Let's remember there are real people involved her who are no longer with us.