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Robert Alan DURST





Classification: Homicide
Characteristics: New York multimillionaire (one of the wealthiest men in America) - Dismemberment
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: September 28, 2001
Date of arrest: October 9, 2001
Date of birth: 1943
Victims profile: Morris Black, 71 (his neighbor)
Method of murder: Shooting
Location: Galveston, Texas, USA
Status: Acquitted of murder by a jury on November 12, 2003. In 2004, Durst pleaded guilty to two counts of bond jumping and one count of evidence tampering. Sentenced to 5 years in prison

photo gallery


Robert Alan "Bobby" Durst (born 1943) is a son of the late New York real estate mogul Seymour Durst, and brother of commercial developer Douglas Durst.

Early life

Durst grew up, one of four children, in Scarsdale, New York and attended Scarsdale High School. He completed his undergraduate degree at Lehigh University and attended graduate school at UCLA.

Durst reportedly witnessed his mother's apparent suicide at age seven; she either fell or jumped off the roof of the Scarsdale family mansion in the presence of her son. According to Reader's Digest, Durst underwent extensive counseling because of his mother's death, and doctors found that his "deep anger" could lead to psychological problems, including schizophrenia.

Durst went on to become a real-estate developer in his father's business; however, it was his brother Douglas who was later appointed to run the family business, which is reportedly worth about $650 million. The appointment, in the 1990s, caused a rift between Robert and his family, and he became estranged. His earlier schizophrenia diagnosis was incorrect.


In 1973, Durst married Kathleen McCormack, who disappeared in 1982. On December 24, 2000, Durst's long-time friend, Susan Berman, was found murdered execution-style in her Benedict Canyon California house. Durst was questioned in both cases, but not charged in either one.

In 2001, Durst was arrested in Galveston, Texas, shortly after body parts of his senior neighbor, Morris Black, were found floating in Galveston Bay, but he was released on bail. Durst missed his court hearing and was declared the nation's first billion-dollar fugitive. He was caught in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, at a Wegmans Supermarket, after trying to steal a chicken sandwich and a Band-Aid, even though he had $500 cash in his pocket. A police search of his rented car yielded $37,000 in cash, two guns, marijuana, and Black's driver's license.

These events inspired the 2010 film "All Good Things", the title of which is a reference to a health store of the same name set up by Durst and his wife in the 1970s.


In 2003, Durst went on trial for the murder of Morris Black. He hired well-known defense attorney Dick DeGuerin and claimed self-defense. During cross-examination by Galveston District Attorney Kurt Sistrunk, Durst admitted to using a paring knife, two saws and an axe to dismember Black's body before dumping his remains in Galveston Bay. The jury acquitted him of murder.

In 2004, Durst pleaded guilty to two counts of bond jumping and one count of evidence tampering. As part of a plea bargain, he received a sentence of five years and was given credit for time served, requiring him to serve about three years in prison.

Durst was paroled in 2005. The rules of his release required him to stay near his home; permission was required to travel.

Second arrest

In December 2005, Durst made an unauthorized trip to the boarding house where he killed Black and to a nearby shopping mall. At the mall, he ran into the presiding judge from his murder trial, Judge Susan Criss. Due to this incident, the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles determined that Durst had violated the terms of his parole, and he was returned to jail.. However he was released again from custody on March 1, 2006.


Fugitive millionaire who butchered friend's body acquitted of murder

By Charles Bagli in Galveston, Texas

November 13, 2003

Robert Durst, a New York multimillionaire who admitted that he had butchered his 71-year-old neighbour's body with a saw and dumped the parts into Galveston Bay, has been acquitted of murder.

Durst, 60, told the jury that despite what happened afterwards, the killing had been accidental and an act of self-defence.

For many in court in Galveston, Texas, on Tuesday, it was a surprise ending to a strange trial. When the verdict was read, in a scene televised live nationally, Durst looked stunned, mouth agape as he gazed upward. A tight smile spread across his face, then he hugged his lawyers, softly saying, "Thank you so much."

But the verdict was no stranger than anything else heard over six weeks of testimony: a troubled multimillionaire, living on the cheap disguised as a woman; the unsolved disappearance of his first wife; the unsolved murder of his confidante in Los Angeles; a secret second marriage; a fatal shooting and a grisly cover-up; a nationwide manhunt that ended with a shoplifting arrest.

Jurors, who deliberated over four days, said outside court that there were holes in Durst's story, but that ultimately the prosecution had failed to prove that he deliberately murdered his neighbour, Morris Black.

Durst testified that in November 2000 he fled New York for Galveston because he had learned that Jeanine Pirro, a district attorney, had reopened an investigation into his first wife's disappearance, and he feared she would indict him unfairly to further her political ambitions. Disguised as a mute woman, Durst rented a flat and disappeared among the town's drifters.

He testified that he hated the wig he wore and soon abandoned his disguise. Mr Black, a cantankerous former seaman, lived across the hall. Although Mr Black often got into arguments with strangers and neighbours, Durst said the two men became fast friends, watching television together and target shooting.

On September 28, 2001, Durst said, he returned to his flat shortly before dawn and found Mr Black watching television. He said he had raced into the kitchen, where he discovered that his .22-calibre handgun was not in its hiding place. He turned to see Mr Black reaching for the weapon underneath a jacket and swinging towards him, Durst said. "I was concerned that Morris was going to shoot the gun, most likely at my face," he told the jury.

He testified that they had struggled and the gun had gone off in Mr Black's face, killing him.

Durst said he panicked. In a haze of drugs and alcohol, he carved up Mr Black's body until he was "swimming in blood". He wrapped the body parts in rubbish bags and dumped them in Galveston Bay, where they were found bobbing in the water. The head has not been recovered.

Durst was arrested and charged with murder, but he later jumped bail, fleeing to Pennsylvania, where he was captured. He still faces charges of bail-jumping, a felony. Prosecutors said they did not plan to charge him with abuse of a corpse, a misdemeanour.

Durst's first brush with the authorities came in 1982 when he told police he had not seen his first wife, Kathleen, in five days. Kathleen had told many friends, "If anything happens to me, don't let him get away with it," said one of them, Marion Watlington.

In December 2000, Durst secretly married Debrah Lee Charatan, a New York estate agent. His friend and confidante, Susan Berman, was found dead that month in her Los Angeles home, shot in the back of the head.

The New York Times


Mystery Of Robert Durst

Billionaire's Psychiatrist Speaks Out For The First Time

Sept. 8, 2004

(CBS) For seven weeks last year, in the Texas port city of Galveston, Texas, one of the wealthiest men in America was standing trial for the bizarre murder of an elderly man.

Robert Durst, 60, and Morris Black, 71, were neighbors. Durst claims Black came into his apartment, grabbed a gun that Durst had hidden and pointed it at him. Durst then said that they struggled over the gun before it went off, killing Black accidentally.

At Durst’s two-month trial, the jury’s not-guilty verdict, after five days of deliberation, shocked everyone – including Durst himself.

But lead investigator, Det. Cody Cazalas, says he’s rarely had a more clear-cut case of murder. “I believe that he probably walked up behind him and shot him in the back of the head,” he says.

“There was nothing to suggest self defense … He never said self defense until after the defense attorneys got the case.”

What made Durst’s claim of self-defense even harder to believe was that after the shooting, instead of calling the police, he chopped up Black’s body, loading the parts into plastic bags and dumping them into Galveston Bay.

“I think he assumed that the tide would take the bags on out to sea. But instead, the bags just stayed right there by the pier,” says Cazalas. “He didn’t panic. Everything he did was cold and calculating.”

The jurors, who were widely criticized for the acquittal, said it proved to be a most difficult decision. But they say they had no choice. While they knew Durst had cut up the body, they weren’t convinced he had actually committed premeditated murder.

Is Durst a cold-blooded killer with a string of victims over more than 20 years? Or is he somehow a victim himself? Last spring, Correspondent Erin Moriarty talked to Durst’s closest friends and the defense psychiatrist who examined him.


The Durst fortune, valued at more than $2 billion, is in the same league as Donald Trump’s fortune. And it’s certainly more than enough for the best legal defense that money can buy.

His high-powered defense team - Dick DeGuerin, Mike Ramsey and Chip Lewis – say that early on, they had difficulty communicating with Durst. So they hired Dr. Altschuler, a well-known Houston psychiatrist, to find out why.

Altschuler says he met with Durst almost on a weekly basis, and spent more than 70 hours examining him. His conclusion: Durst suffers from a form of autism called Asperger’s syndrome. It’s a fairly uncommon disorder that leaves a victim’s intellect intact, but limits his ability to interact socially.

“Emotion is very difficult to him. He doesn’t know what happy is,” says Altschuler. “He can feel it, but almost as if he were feeling it as we would feel fingers through a glove. It’s very dulled, at best, to him … His whole life’s history is so compatible with a diagnosis of Asperger’s disorder.”

The jury apparently bought it. They were convinced that Durst, in a panic, dismembered Black’s body.

“It would have been an explanation for some of the inappropriate -- and obviously, it was inappropriate to dismember a corpse -- behavior that Bob went through,” says Ramsey.


If you travel 1,647 miles southwest of New York City, the road ends at the Gulf port of Galveston, Texas.

Durst says he came to Galveston in late 2000 to get as far away as he could from New York tabloid reports that were tying him to another mystery – the 1982 disappearance of his first wife, Kathie.

“I have no reason to believe that she isn’t dead and that this wasn’t a homicide,” says Jeanine Pirro, the district attorney of Westchester County, N.Y., who is actively investigating the case. “We want to talk to Bob Durst and he won’t talk to us. There’s no one who knows more about what happened to Kathleen, and what her last actions were than Robert Durst. And he won't talk to us.”

In the winter of 1982, Kathie Durst, who’d been married to Robert for 11 years, disappeared. Strangely, Durst waited several days before notifying either the police or his wife’s family.

Did he sound worried? “No, it was almost casual,” recalls Kathie’s brother, Jim McCormick. “And almost rushed, to get the phone call out of the way.”

“He’s a very odd person,” says Kathie’s close friend Ellen Strauss. “He was tossing out her things and trying to rent her apartment – immediately after disappearing.”

Strauss is so convinced that Durst killed her friend that she’s been collecting evidence for years, and storing it in a safe deposit box -- even sharing it with investigators.

“I keep certain items that can’t be reproduced. Every scrap of paper that I wrote in 1982,” she says. “I made a promise, not that I would avenge her, but that I would get to the bottom of it. That’s what friends are for.”


Kathie was just 19 when she left home in suburban Long Island for the bright lights of New York City.

“The apartment she was living in was owned by the Durst Organization, and Bob was apparently some collector of rents,” says McCormick.

Kathie and Robert got along instantly, and within two years, they married.

“She was crazy about him,” says Strauss. “He was quiet and there was that dark side to him. He was always dark and brooding and some women find that attractive.”

Plus, there was the lifestyle Durst’s world-class fortune could buy: going to discos like Studio 54, star-studded parties and exotic travel all over the world.

While Durst worked in the family real estate business, Kathie decided to go to medical school. But her friends say that did not make her husband particularly happy.

“He was very tight with money in terms of going to school. She had to come up with ways to do things on her own,” recalls Strauss. “In spite of the fact of being married to Bob Durst, he was not generous.”

Friends say Durst wouldn’t help cover Kathie’s medical school, and sometimes wouldn’t even pay for home repairs.

The marriage grew strained, and by 1981, most of her friends knew there were serious problems.

“Kathie was being abused by Bob physically. She always said that if anything ever happens to me, look to Bob,” says Strauss.

“The one time I saw the physical violence was when he was impatient to leave my mom’s house in New Hyde Park,” recalls McCormick. “He turned around and walked over and grabbed her by the hair, and pretty much yanked her right off the couch … Just kind of pulled her. I should have ripped his face off.”

In January 1982, Kathie suddenly disappeared. Her friends say it was after a confrontation with her husband, but Durst tells a very different story. He says they had dinner together that night and then he dropped her off to catch a train back to New York City. That’s the last time he says he ever saw her.

”It sickened him that he’s been suspected of killing a woman that he loved very much,” says Durst’s laywer, Dick DeGuerin, who claims his client had no reason to kill his wife. “He has her wedding picture in his cell in Galveston.”

“There were several people interviewed by police at the time who gave written statements that saw her after Bob had last seen her,” adds Durst’s lawyer, Mike Ramsey.

But sources in the investigation have told 48 Hours they question the credibility of some of those witnesses. And, there was another issue: the troubles in the Durst marriage were escalating.

The police have never found Kathie’s body – and don’t have enough evidence so far to charge anyone with her death. But Pirro says her office is not giving up: “You don’t need a body in criminal case. It’s a lot harder without a body, but that’s not going to stop us.”


In the freewheeling beachfront bars of Galveston, Texas, you’ll hear another strange story about Bob Durst -- that when he first came here from New York to hide out from the media, he came disguised as a woman.

His cross-dressing made headlines during the Morris Black murder trial. And his attorneys even used it as part of their defense strategy.

“Why did a rich guy end up in Galveston wearing a wig, masquerading as a woman, and hiding from the world,” asks Ramsey, Durst's attorney. “Well, we have an answer for that. It’s a complex answer. It has to do with a psychological disorder.”

According to Altschuler, it’s a psychological disorder that helps to explain why Durst panicked and chopped up Black’s body in the Texas murder case.

Altschuler says the disorder is called Asperger’s syndrome, the rare form of autism that he says makes Durst act inappropriately in stressful situations.

But Durst’s oldest friends in life know a very different person. “People really have the wrong impression of Bob,” says Stewart Altman, who regularly visits Durst at the Galveston jail.

Altman has been Durst’s friend and at times legal advisor for 40 years. He and his wife, Emily, agreed to talk to 48 Hours. “He’s just a regular guy who happens to have a lot of money,” he says. “I don’t see why people should hold that against him.”

Altman and Durst met in high school in the upscale New York suburb of Scarsdale, where Durst – the firstborn prince of New York real estate royalty – struggled to make friends.

“Socially, Bob was not a great success," recalls Altman. "I always knew Bob had these problems relating to other people.”


Part II: Robert Durst

Is New York Real Estate Heir Guilty Of Murder?

(CBS) Robert Durst’s troubles began when he tragically lost his mother at 7. “She was on the third floor and fell off,” says defense psychiatrist Dr. Milton Altschuler. “Or jumped off. She died.”

By 10, he was such an angry child that a family doctor wrote that Durst might be schizophrenic. But Altschuler says the doctor was simply seeing the signs of Asperger’s syndrome.

“Certainly, children who are somewhat autistic, who have Asperger’s, do have a great deal of anger. Because they are really being frustrated a great deal,” says Altschuler.

Jim McCormick, the brother of Durst’s missing wife Kathie, believes that this anger and frustration makes his brother-in-law a dangerous man.

“Devious, deceptive, criminally cunning, contemptuous of civility. This is, you know, the person who doesn’t believe any of the rules apply to him,” says McCormick, who believes that Durst murdered his sister.

“He was already at his full rage, and she was at her full throttle of womanly independence --and that a terrible, terrible fight ensued.”

But the Altmans says Durst has been unfairly accused. “I honest to God think that if there were anything in these accusations, something would have come in the past 20 whatever years,” says Emily Altman.

“I think Bob’s an easy target, because he’s quiet. He’s shy. People sometimes interpret that in different ways.”

Would being a person who doesn’t feel a lot of emotion make him more able than the average person to commit a crime? “No, it makes him, to me, less dangerous,” says Altschuler. “Because most people commit crimes because of emotion. Not because of lack of emotion.”

Even if Durst dismembered a body? “No,” says Altschuler. “Because there’s nothing in his history to indicate a real dangerous past.”


There is, however, considerable evidence that Durst has been violent in the past.

There’s the hair-pulling incident that Kathie’s brother remembered witnessing. Durst also kicked in the face a man he believed was involved with his wife. And shortly before Kathie disappeared, she went to a New York hospital with bruises.

Even Altschuler admits that Durst sometimes hit his wife. “He hit her in the stomach. Absolutely, he had. But that was to get her attention,” says Altschuler, who claims Durst never meant to hurt Kathie.

Altschuler adds that even though Kathie wanted a divorce and financial settlement, Durst still had no reason to kill her: “Money doesn’t mean much to him. He’s lived very conservatively. [Even the fact that she wanted to leave him] meant nothing to him. Because after all, he couldn’t feel that much of an attachment to her.”

“He’s not a robot. There is no psychiatric disorder that’s a get-out-of-jail-free card, so to speak,” says Dr. Lawson Bernstein, a forensic psychiatrist who studied Durst’s trial testimony at 48 Hours’ request. He believes that Durst suffers from only a very mild form of Asperger’s syndrome. “We’re talking about someone with Asperger’s, who nonetheless forms close human relationships.”

Durst, for example, has maintained his friendship with the Altmans. In 2000, just before he fled New York, he got married again, to New York real estate broker Debrah Charatan.

“This is somebody who’s been married twice, who does have some ability for human connection,” says Bernstein. “If he’s capable of normal human interaction, he’s capable of feeling emotions. And if he’s capable of feeling emotions, he’s capable of doing things that human beings do – including murder.”

In Christmas 2000, another dead body was discovered – this time in Los Angeles.

The victim was Susan Berman, a flamboyant writer with a storied past. Her father was Davie Berman, one of the pioneer mobsters who founded Las Vegas.

The timing of Berman’s death sparked suspicion in people who followed Durst’s story. She was shot just a month after newspapers reported that police had re-opened their investigation into the mysterious disappearance of Kathie Durst.

Berman was once Durst’s close friend and had been living in New York when Kathie disappeared. Investigators had planned to talk to her, but before they could meet with Berman, she was murdered, shot in the back of the head.

“Susan would not have let anyone into her house. It was someone she knew,” says Kathie’s friend, Ellen Strauss. She thinks Durst killed Berman because she helped him cover up his wife’s murder back in 1982. “She knew too much.”

Strauss says that the morning after Kathie disappeared, a woman called her medical school, identifying herself as Kathie, to say she wasn’t feeling well. “I think it was Susan Berman who made that call,” says Strauss. “I think that’s why Susan Berman was killed. Once the story broke about the case re-opening, I think Bob was trying to mop up all the loose ends.”

Durst’s attorney, Chip Lewis, says Berman’s murder was a clear and simple mob hit: “The fact of the matter is Susan Berman had cried out soon before her murder that she was about to expose the mob in a tell-all book about what she knew. It was a hit-style murder.”

But sources close to the L.A. investigation say that there wasn't any mob connection -- and that Durst is a focus of the investigation. And when Berman was found murdered in L.A., New York District Attorney Jeanine Pirro, of Westchester County, turned up the heat on the long cold case of Kathie Durst.

“We really didn’t get involved in the case until after Susan Berman was shot in Los Angeles,” says Pirro.

There are now active murder investigations on both coasts. In Berman’s case, Durst denies that he was in Los Angeles, but authorities tell 48 Hours that they have documents which they believe prove that he was in California at the time Berman was killed. Still, no charges have been filed, and Durst’s attorneys say it’s unfair to jump to conclusions in either the disappearance of his wife or the death of Susan Berman.


Galveston Police Det. Cody Cazalas says there is evidence that Durst has a long history of deceptions: “I think if Bob Durst was to tell me good morning, I’d run outside and see if it’s raining.”

Long before he dressed as a woman and used false identities in Galveston, Durst had been taking other people’s names and Social Security numbers. That’s what private detective Bobbi Bacha found after she was hired by a local newspaper in Texas to research Durst.

For example, Bacha says, “We know that Dorothy Ciner is a confirmed name. E Dianne Wynn. We know that he used Kathleen Durst. We know that he used Jezowsky.”

During the ‘80s and ‘90s, Durst was renting or buying up residences in New Orleans, Dallas and Galveston, as well as several places in New York, San Francisco and Trinidad, Calif.

Durst’s attorneys say their client was just trying to escape the burdens of his life. “Bob was not comfortable being Bob Durst,” say DeGuerin. “He had to explain that he was extremely wealthy and didn’t have to work. He was not proud of that.”

“I think he killed his wife in 1982 and disposed of her and he’s been living with that, and he’s been waiting for the other shoe to drop,” says Cazalas. “And when it did, he was gonna run. And he would run all across the country and have safe houses. That’s why I think he did it.”

Prosecutors have been holding Durst in jail for almost a year on other charges. So how will he manage to get out and around the multi-billion dollar bail?

Durst remains a very wealthy man, but not wealthy enough. He’s been in jail for 10 months after his shocking acquittal because he couldn't make bail, which was set at $2 billion.

Even though Durst was acquitted in the murder of Morris Black, he’s still facing bail-jumping charges for skipping town before the Galveston murder trial began last fall.

He was on the run for seven weeks. Then his story took a pathetic turn when the wealthy real estate heir was arrested in Pennsylvania trying to shoplift a sandwich from a grocery store. Police say he had two loaded guns, some marijuana and $38,000 in hundred dollar bills. He has been in the Galveston jail ever since.

“It was a product of irrational behavior,” says Durst’s attorney, Chip Lewis. “He was very tired. He was very suicidal. He was very confused.”

“He’s probably the wealthiest person in the criminal justice system in America. Why would it surprise anyone that his bail would be the highest,” says Judge Susan Criss, who’s handling the Durst case. “You’re not required to set something they can afford, because if you do have to do that, there should not be a single person in this country who has to sit in jail waiting for their trial.”

This past February, Judge Criss raised Durst’s bail even higher – to $3 billion – after prosecutors added a new charge.

Bail is set to ensure a defendant appears for trial. And Durst’s own lawyers have to admit their client has a history of running. There was also concern in Galveston about releasing a man who admitted to chopping up another man's body.


Two weeks ago, Durst's lawyers persuaded an appellate court to lower his bail to $450,000 dollars. Durst could walk out of jail any day.

However, the jurors who acquitted Durst of murder bristle at the charge that his legal dream team swayed them. They maintain that prosecutors just failed to prove their case of premeditated murder.

If Durst is convicted of the new charges, bail jumping and tampering with evidence, he could be sentenced to up to 20 years in prison. But there is also a chance that he could simply be released for time served.

“Assuming he is released, and has some life, he’s gonna have to go some place where nobody knows him,” says Durst’s attorney, Dick DeGuerin. “And live a quiet existence. That’s all he wants to do.”

Should people be concerned if Robert Durst is ever freed? “No, ma’am,” says Dr. Altschuler. “I would stake my 40 years of practice on that.”

“I think that wherever Bob Durst goes, there’s a certain wake when he leaves,” adds Pirro. “And I think that but for the currents in the Galveston Bay, Morris Black would never have appeared on the radar screen. His body would never have floated up. And he would have disappeared off the face of the earth, just like Kathleen Durst did.”


Robert Durst is pursuing legal action of his own in a fight over the family fortune. It’s a lawsuit against one of his brothers and a cousin. He says they’re trying to stop him from naming his second wife as heir to his share of the family trust fund -- reportedly worth millions of dollars a year.

Meanwhile, Robert Durst remains a millionaire under suspicion and under investigation on both coasts.


Durst pleads guilty; gets 5-year sentence

Sep. 29, 2004

New York real estate heir Robert Durst pleaded guilty Wednesday to bond-jumping and evidence-tampering in connection with the death and dismemberment of his elderly neighbor.

The plea bargain was accepted hours after an appellate judge removed District Judge Susan Criss from the case amid defense arguments that she was biased. Criss, who had previously rejected a plea deal, presided over Durst’s murder trial in which he was acquitted of intentionally killing 71-year-old Morris Black.

Criss told 11 News afterwards that if she was still on the case, Durst would be going to trial next month.

Durst was sentenced to five years for the two bond-jumping charges and one evidence- tampering charge. Durst, who has been in jail since late 2001, will receive credit for time served.

"That 1,035 days," said Jackson Smith Jr., a retired Houston appellate judge.

"Yes," said Durst. "I've already done the arithmetic."

Defense attorneys had argued that state District Judge Susan Criss was biased against Durst. .“This is a fair resolution to this case,” Durst’s attorney, Dick DeGuerin, said. “Bob Durst is greatly relieved to have this behind him.”

Galveston County District Attorney Kirk Sistrunk said he thought the plea agreement was best for all parties involved and the victim’s sister agreed with it.

“I know it is not a decision that everyone in the county will approve of, but we have to make tough decisions,” he said.

Sistrunk said technically Durst is eligible for parole as of Wednesday, but DeGuerin said he believes the state board of pardons and paroles will force his client to serve out the remainder of the sentence which should amount to about two years. But it's possible that, with good time, he could be out next spring.

Durst, 61, was found not guilty in November of intentionally killing Black. He has remained jailed in Galveston, however, because he fled the island city shortly after his 2001 arrest.

Durst testified during his trial he accidentally shot Black in September 2001 as they struggled for a gun in Durst’s apartment. A jury acquitted him after more than 26 hours of deliberations spread over five days. He contended he panicked, cut up the body and dumped the pieces in Galveston Bay. Black’s remains, except for his head, were recovered.

Durst left Galveston, about 50 miles southeast of Houston, but returned and was arrested in October 2001. He posted bond and ran again, then was caught a month later in Pennsylvania.

His family runs The Durst Organization, a privately held billion-dollar New York real estate company.

Criss was removed from the case after defense attorneys argued she was biased against Durst, citing her statements after the trial and her decision to set his bond at $3 billion. They said five jurors reported Criss was openly critical of their verdict.

Judge Smith granted a defense motion to remove Criss and said he would take over the case. There was no comment in his ruling, and he declined comment on his decision afterward.

At a hearing before Smith Wednesday, Durst’s attorneys also pointed Criss’ rejection of a plea deal related to the evidence-tampering and bond-jumping cases because it was “too light,” even though prosecutors and defense attorneys had agreed on the five-year sentence.

Asked where Durst will live, once he's free, DeGuerin said, "He won't be living in Galveston."


Millionaire in jail on parole violation

Dec. 21, 2005

Texas millionaire Robert Durst, acquitted of a murder in the death of his neighbor four years ago, is in a Houston jail on parole violation.

Authorities said Durst had violated parole by visiting the house in nearby Galveston where he was accused of cutting up the body of Morris Black. Durst was acquitted of murder but was on parole for jumping bail and tampering with evidence in Black's death, reports the Houston Chronicle.

A woman, who lives next to the Galveston house, told police she saw Durst Friday standing outside his former residence.

"She said he was just standing there, staring at the house," a police sergeant said. The woman, who had testified at Durst's trial, was upset and concerned for her safety, he said.

A jury acquitted Durst in 2003 in the death of 71-year-old Black, after Durst claimed Black died from a bullet in the head as the two struggled over a pistol. Durst testified he panicked after the death, cut up Black's body and tossed the parts into Galveston Bay.



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