In a new docu-series, the reclusive millionaire tells his side of the story

Advertisement
Image
Credit: David J. Phillip/AP

Robert Durst has been a tabloid fixture for more than 30 years.

Once the wealthy scion of a prominent New York real-estate family, Durst has been linked to three strange crimes: the 1982 disappearance of his wife, the 2000 shooting of a friend, and the 2001 murder and dismemberment of a neighbor.

Now 71, Durst is telling his side of the story. On Feb. 8 at 8 p.m. ET, HBO will premiere its six-part documentary series, The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst. In the docu-series, Durst gives a lengthy interview, recounting his version of the saga that has captivated crime watchers for years.

A Trail of Mystery

The series begins with the grisly murder and dismemberment of 71-year-old Morris Black in Galveston, Texas, in 2001.

The story became national news, when authorities identified Durst as their prime suspect. Even stranger, Durst, then an heir to a $4.4 billion dollar fortune, had been disguising himself as an elderly woman and renting a $300-a-month apartment next to Black’s home.

After a nationwide manhunt, Durst was charged with killing Black, cutting his body in pieces, and throwing the remains in Galveston Bay. But a jury acquitted Durst, accepting his claim that he had killed Black in self-defense.

“We had everything: physical evidence, bloodstains,” says homicide detective Cody Cazalas, who investigated the case. “He was still found not guilty.”

The HBO docu-series also reexamines the 1982 disappearance of Durst’s first wife, Kathleen, and the 2000 murder of his longtime confidante, Susan Berman, who was found shot execution-style in her California home. Authorities questioned Durst in both cases, but he was never charged.

His Candid Interview

In an interview, Durst pulls no punches – and seemingly takes responsibility for his wife’s disappearance. “I am complicit in Kathie not being here,” he says matter-of-factly in the documentary. “If she met some normal guy, like, from Long Island, she would have had a bunch of kids and would have lived an average life.”

Durst also talks about his mother’s suicide; she jumped off the roof when he was only 7. In painful detail, he recounts her funeral and burial.

But not everyone agrees with his recollection. Durst’s estranged brother, Douglas Durst, decries the documentary’s “self serving, revisionist and fictitious account of the past.”

Still, the documentary’s director and producers feel that the truth is in there. “There’s a lot of honesty in his answers,” says producer Andrew Jarecki. “I think people who watch The Jinx will come away from it feeling like they know what happened.”

For more on Durst’s life now, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday