A judge ruled Monday that accused murderer Robert Durst will be held without bail in Louisiana on potential firearms charges. Durst was arrested by the FBI in New Orleans on March 14 and is accused by California authorities of murdering Susan Berman in Los Angeles in 2000; he has waived his right to contest extradition to Los Angeles and is reportedly “eager” to face trial there for Berman’s murder, but may also be charged with weapons-related crimes in Louisiana after a revolver was found in his New Orleans hotel room.
According to New Orleans defense attorney Craig Mordock, Durst can’t be extradited to California if charges are pending against him in Louisiana, and he’ll now be held until the Louisiana situation is resolved. A preliminary hearing on the potential weapons charges has been scheduled for April 2, but it’s possible that he’ll be indicted by a grand jury and formally charged before that date. (Durst could also be charged via a bill of information.)
Per New York Times reporter Campbell Robertson, issues discussed at Monday’s hearing included a letter uncovered by producers of the HBO show The Jinx and an interview Durst gave to The Jinx in which he discussed fleeing from authorities after he was arrested on murder charges in Texas in 2003.
"The Jinx" being discussed in Robert Durst's bond hearing in New Orleans. Recounting intvw between Durst and filmmakers in ep. 3 about bail.— Campbell Robertson (@campbellnyt) March 23, 2015
Now discussing the "cadaver" letter. On March 9, after episode aired, Durst stopped using his cellphone.— Campbell Robertson (@campbellnyt) March 23, 2015
If my recollection of the interview footage from Episode 3 is correct, Durst told Jinx director Andrew Jarecki that he was surprised that authorities in Texas didn’t realize he’d flee after being released on bail. The “cadaver letter,” meanwhile, is an anonymous letter received by Los Angeles police after the 2000 murder of Berman. Durst is suspected of writing the message and killing Berman; The Jinx’s producers located another letter Durst had written whose handwriting matches that of the “cadaver letter” almost exactly. That Durst stopped using his phone after the episode about the letter aired was presumably discussed as further evidence of his intent to flee.
In that vein:
UPS package was being delivered to Durst at hotel: had shoes, personal items and $117K in cash. Durst already had $44K in room.— Campbell Robertson (@campbellnyt) March 23, 2015
Durst had map that shows New Orleans, Florida and Cuba, investigator testifies.— Campbell Robertson (@campbellnyt) March 23, 2015
Defense attorneys asked Monday to call former Westchester County, New York, District Attorney Jeanine Pirro—who’s in New Orleans to cover Durst for her Fox News show Justice With Judge Jeanine—to testify as a witness. Presumably, the intent of soliciting such testimony would be to portray Durst as the victim of overzealous prosecutors across the country; regardless, the Louisiana judge denied the defense’s request to call Pirro.