The latex mask worn by Robert Durst as a disguise was shown to jurors Wednesday as during closing arguments in the murder trial against New York real estate scion.
The Los Angeles jury heard prosecutors make the case Durst killed three people, and was planning to flee the country after an incriminating HBO documentary about the murders aired. The trial focuses on the murder of his friend Susan Berman.
Durst famously appeared to confess to the murders during the miniseries “The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst.”
“Killed them all, of course,” Durst was caught muttering to himself on a live mic. The show also exposed him lying about writing a note that directed cops to Berman’s corpse.
He was arrested in 2015 in New Orleans a day before the final episode aired in 2015, donning the elaborate head-to-shoulder prosthetic mask to conceal his identity, along with a pile of cash, a gun and a map of Cuba.
A prosecutor wearing a face covering hoisted Durst’s disguise above his head and displayed it to the jury during closing arguments, photos show.
Without forensic evidence tied to Berman’s death, prosecutors presented evidence that suggested Durst, 78, killed his wife Kathie Durst, then slaughtered Berman and a Texas neighbor to cover his tracks. Durst was never charged in his wife’s disappearance and was acquitted of murdering Morris Black in a Texas boarding house, although he admitted to killing the man during a struggle.
Prosecutors alleged that Robert killed Kathie in Westchester County before she could divorce him for abuse, then murdered Berman before she could tell police she gave a false alibi in connection with Kathie’s 1982 disappearance.
Robert testified he drove Kathie to catch a Metro-North train to New York City, where she attended medical school on the night of her disappearance. The dean of students said he got a call from a woman who identified herself as Kathie saying she was sick and couldn’t attend her clerkship. Prosecutors said a student wouldn’t call in sick to the dean and accused Berman of staging the call at Robert’s behest.
The state alleged that Durst killed Berman in 2000 to cover his tracks, and then killed Black a year later when he found out the suspect was on the run.
“Fortunately for Mr. Durst, they failed to deliver the required evidence to support their script/theory,” defense attorney Chip Lewis told the court Tuesday. “In our beautiful country, we do not convict folks based on made-for-TV-movies.”
The trial was delayed for more than a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Durst took the stand for three weeks and denied killing his wife or Berman, but also said he’d lied if he had, leading the judge to remark that he had appeared to have destroyed his credibility.
“If Robert Durst gets acquitted on this case, I will be shocked along with the rest of the world,” said Los Angeles attorney David Ring, who has been watching the case. “The evidence is beyond overwhelming that not only did he murder Susan Berman, but that he murdered his first wife, Kathie Durst, and also Morris Black. I mean, he got away with two murders, he’s trying to get away with a third; it’s not going to happen.”
With AP wires