By Jonathan Kaminsky
New York real estate scion Robert Durst agreed on Monday to be extradited to Los Angeles County from New Orleans to face a charge of first-degree murder in the 2000 death of a longtime friend.
Durst, who is the subject of a six-part HBO documentary series called The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst, has maintained his innocence. The 71-year-old was arrested on Saturday in New Orleans.
Durst previously was questioned but not charged in the death of his first wife, Kathleen Durst, in 1982, and he was acquitted of murder in a third case in 2001.
The warrant issued by Los Angeles County is for the death of Susan Berman, whose body was discovered in her West Los Angeles home on Christmas Eve in 2000, authorities said.
Berman, a friend from graduate school, served as Durst’s spokeswoman after his wife disappeared, the New York Times reported.
In the final installment of the HBO series that aired on Sunday night, Durst appears to say he carried out the killings. But it is not known if he is speaking sincerely, and he is speaking to himself.
The documentary shows an interview session during which he rejects a piece of evidence against him. Durst then goes to the bathroom still wearing the microphone, apparently unaware he is still being taped.
In remarks captured on audiotape, he whispers to himself, “What the hell did I do? Killed them all, of course.”
It was not immediately clear what role the documentary played in Durst’s arrest. Filmmakers said they were in contact with law enforcement.
“As a result of investigative leads and additional evidence that has come to light in the past year, investigators have identified Robert Durst as the person responsible for Ms. Berman’s death,” Los Angeles police said in a statement.
Durst, scion of one of New York’s largest real estate empires, also inspired the 2010 Hollywood movie All Good Things.
The Durst Organization oversees the lease and maintenance of One World Trade Center, the western hemisphere’s tallest skyscraper, built on the site of the twin towers destroyed in al Qaeda’s hijacked airliner attack on Sept. 11, 2001.
The company says it owns 11 Manhattan office towers.
“We are relieved and also grateful to everyone who assisted in the arrest of Robert Durst,” said his brother, Douglas Durst. “We hope he will finally be held accountable for all he has done.”