‘The Jinx’ Subject Robert Durst Arrested at New Orleans Hotel on First Degree Murder Charges

by Micah Haley on March 16, 2015

jinx09It’s not TV. It’s HBO. Just before the premium cable channel concluded its now-landmark documentary The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst, the man himself was in New Orleans. On Saturday, March 15, Durst was arrested at the JW Marriott Hotel at 614 Canal Street.

So, if you haven’t been watching The Jinx, what happened? Here’s a quick rundown of a long and bizarre saga that has spanned decades. Spoilers for the documentary – and real life – follow, but we suspect that these final details will be revealed to you in the news in the coming days anyway.

In 1973, Kathleen McCormack married Robert Durst, the wealthy and wayward son of one of the most powerful families in New York, who founded The Durst Organization a hundred years ago. After nine years of marriage, Kathleen Durst disappeared. Robert Durst was never charged, but a veil of suspicion would follow him for his entire life. Durst has continued to deny the informal allegations about his first wife.

In 2000, eighteen years after the disappearance of Kathleen Durst, the investigation into Robert Durst was reopened. That same year, Durst’s long time friend Susan Berman was killed execution style at her home in California. Berman is believed to have knowledge of the death of Kathleen Durst, whom she also knew.

Robert Durst was questioned in the matter of Burman’s death but was not charged. Durst also moved to Galveston, Texas that year to escape the increased scrutiny he was under in New York for the death of his first wife. He also began cross-dressing and posing as a mute woman.

In 2001, Durst was arrested in Galveston for the murder of Morris Black, his elderly neighbor at a rundown apartment complex. He was released on bond the next day, posting the $300,000 without blinking. He skipped town, but was later picked up in Pennsylvania for petty theft at a supermarket (despite having $500 in his pocket).

In 2003, Durst was tried for the murder of Morris Black. But despite admitting to dismembering and disposing of the body, he was acquitted. However, he did spend time in prison for the lesser charges of bond jumping and evidence tampering.

In 2005, he visited the site where Morris Black died, and was put back in jail for violation of his parole. He was discovered after bumping into Susan Criss at the mall, the very judge who presided over his murder trial.

In 2010, director Andrew Jarecki’s film All Good Things was released. The narrative feature starred Ryan Gosling as David Marks, a cypher of Robert Durst. His wife was played by Kirsten Dunst. The film is an exploration of a couple’s tumultuous, but not unloving, relationship that ultimately results in her demise.

Robert Durst sees the film based on his life and calls the film’s distributor and asks to be put in touch with Andrew Jarecki. Durst says that he really likes the film and wants to do an interview with Jarecki to share his side of his story.

That interview is the underpinning of The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst. The six-part documentary is riveting, unfolding in dramatic detail the events of Durst’s life. It’s also an occasionally sympathetic portrayal, as Jarecki actually gives Durst the opportunity to share his side of the story, an opportunity to explain his often bizarre behavior. Throughout, Durst continues to declare his innocence.

But it appears The Jinx does more than just give Durst a platform. In the final episode, which portrays the events of the final interview, Jarecki confronts Durst with evidence he and his team uncovered surrounding the death of Susan Berman. On its face, it clearly implicates Durst in her death (we’ll spare you the details so you can watch the documentary). As the interview ends, Durst goes to use the bathroom, but forgets that his microphone is on. He begins to whisper to himself. He regrets an awkward hiccup he made right after being presented the evidence.

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

Apparently fleeing the increased scrutiny that The Jinx would bring upon him, Robert Durst ran to New Orleans, where he was arrested on Saturday, March 14 at the JW Marriott. He was arrested on a warrant issues by the Los Angeles County Police Department on suspicion of first degree murder. The murder of Susan Berman.

Durst is currently in custody awaiting transport to California.