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Robert Durst, the real estate heir linked to two killings and a disappearance, agreed on Monday to travel to Los Angeles to face a first-degree murder charge after he was captured in an HBO documentary mumbling to himself: “Killed them all, of course.”
In a brief hearing in New Orleans, Durst agreed to extradition to face the charge in the 2000 killing of Susan Berman, his longtime confidant. Police said in court papers that Durst had a revolver when he was arrested on Saturday.
In court, he spoke only to answer the judge — “Yes, I signed that” — when he was asked whether it was his signature on the extradition waiver. Before the hearing, Durst sat in a glass-walled box separate from other inmates and spoke through a window to his lawyer.
Outside court, his lawyer Dick DeGuerin said: “Bob Durst didn’t kill Susan Berman. He is ready to end all speculation and go to trial.”
DeGuerin said extradition could be delayed if New Orleans authorities pursue local charges against Durst.
Later on Monday, Los Angeles County prosecutors officially charged Durst with one count of first-degree murder charges, with “special circumstances of murder of a witness and lying in wait.” The charge makes Durst eligible for the death penalty if convicted.
Los Angeles Deputy District Attorneys John Lewin and Habib Balian with the Major Crimes Division are assigned to the case. Prosecutors have been working closely with the Los Angeles Police Department for the past two years investigating the cold case murder.
Durst is charged with murdering Berman on or about Dec. 23, 2000. Her body was discovered in her Benedict Canyon home on Christmas Eve.
Durst was arrested on the day before HBO aired the final installment of a documentary called “The Jinx.” Durst agreed to be interviewed for the documentary and was in a bathroom when an open microphone captured him talking to himself.
“There it is. You’re caught,” he said. He also said, “What the hell did I do? Killed them all, of course.”
According to a court documents submitted by New Orleans police, Durst was described as a flight risk who was believed to be armed and dangerous.
Durst was questioned but never charged in the 1982 disappearance of his wife, Kathleen. He shot to death and dismembered a neighbor in Texas in 2001, but he was acquitted on a self-defense claim.
Prosecutors in Los Angeles have a committee that decides whether to pursue the death penalty. In the Durst case, that decision would be a long way off.
Meanwhile, late Monday Durst was hit with gun and drug charges by the Louisiana State Police. He was booked on one charge of "felon in possession of a firearm," and another charge of "felon in possession of a firearm with a controlled dangerous substance" (marijuana), said a State Police spokeswoman. It was unclear when he will appear in court.