The real estate mogul is in 'relatively good spirits' – but still worried, his lawyer tells PEOPLE

By K.C. Baker
Updated March 31, 2015 06:20 PM
Pat Sullivan/AP

Robert Durst, who remains in a Louisiana jail charged with the execution-style murder of a close friend and is suspected in the disappearances of five others, “is in relatively good spirits,” his attorney, Dick DeGuerin, tells PEOPLE. “He is not suicidal.”

That doesn’t mean he’s not worried. “Anyone who’s being pilloried and being blamed for all these crimes for which there is no evidence has got to be concerned – and he is,” DeGuerin says.

On March 14 – the day before the blockbuster finale of HBO’s Andrew Jarecki-directed docuseries The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst – the real estate scion was arrested for the alleged 2000 murder of his longtime friend and confidante Susan Berman. She had told Durst that police wanted to question her in the disappearance of his then-wife, Kathie Durst.

In The Jinx finale, Jarecki showed Durst a copy of the now-famous “cadaver” letter that was sent to Beverly Hills Police after Berman’s death, telling them that there was a dead body at her address. Jarecki pointed out that the word “Beverly” was misspelled, just as it was on a letter Durst sent to Berman on stationery from his Wall Street office.

At the end of the interview, Durst headed into the bathroom while still fully miked, seemingly unaware that he was being recorded. He was overheard talking to himself, mumbling, “You’re caught. You’re right, of course. But, you can’t imagine. Arrest him.”

“What the hell did I do?” he continued. “Killed them all, of course.”

Since Durst’s arrest and the explosive finale of The Jinx, authorities around the country have been investigating whether Durst, 71, is responsible for the disappearances of three other women: Kristen Modafferi, Lynne Schulze and Karen Mitchell, who disappeared years ago while still in their teens.

Right now, says DeGuerin, his client “is looked on as the weirdest guy in the country and it’s just not fair that they are piling on.”

A Little Odd

All of his life, Durst “has been looked upon as a little odd. He is mildly autistic. He has been diagnosed as having Asperger’s,” says DeGuerin.

Asperger’s syndrome is at the high end of the autism spectrum and affects the ability to socialize and communicate effectively with others.

“His family didn’t want the stigma of mental illness or mental condition, so they never got the diagnosis or treatment or therapy that he should have had,” DeGuerin says.

One of the symptoms of Asperger’s, he says, is being too trusting. “I think that his trust in the producers of the docudrama was misplaced because they were setting out to trap him, I now believe. He did not take his lawyer’s advice, which was not to do the interview at all because of the likelihood that they would trick him, and I think he’s regretting that he did not take his lawyer’s advice.”

Durst’s health is also deteriorating. “He is frail,” says DeGuerin. “He has had very serious medical problems. He had hydrocephalus (too much fluid on the brain) and has had brain surgery to relieve the hydrocephalus.”

Durst underwent surgery on his spine and surgery for his esophageal cancer, says DeGuerin. “I think that the surgery got it all. You never know.”

Despite his medical issues, Durst wants to get to court to get the truth out, says DeGuerin. “He will be 72 in April,” he says. “He’s not in good health but he’s up for the fight.”

For more on Robert Durst, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday

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