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“Durst’s Trial as Bizarre as the Man”


— October 22, 2003

I’ve previously linked to news about the strange New York real estate heir who was found living disguised as a mute woman in a cheap apartment in Galveston, Texas. He’s now on trial for murdering and dismembering a neighbor:

At first blush, the prosecution’s case against millionaire murder defendant Robert Durst could not be clearer. Police recovered body parts from Galveston Bay, followed clues to Durst’s apartment house and then uncovered evidence that the heir to a Manhattan real estate empire had dismembered the body, assumed the dead man’s identity and high-tailed it out of town.

That’s essentially what Galveston District Attorney Kurt Sistrunk and prosecutor Joel Bennett presented through 40 witnesses and hundreds of exhibits since testimony began September 22.

But is it enough? Is undisputed evidence of dismemberment, disposal, cleanup and flight enough to convict a man of murder?

In many jurisdictions around the country, it would be an open-and-shut case. But Durst has hired some of Texas’ best lawyers and is going with an all-or-nothing bid to win his freedom by conceding that neighbor Morris Black died in Durst’s apartment from a bullet that came out of Durst’s .22-caliber target pistol.

Durst, who is expected to take the stand late this week or next, claims that Black was the aggressor, let himself into Durst’s apartment and then menaced Durst with the gun.

Court TV reports on the case via CNN here.

UPDATE: Read a summary of Durst’s self defense testimony here.


I’ve previously linked to news about the strange New York real estate heir who was found living disguised as a mute woman in a cheap apartment in Galveston, Texas. He’s now on trial for murdering and dismembering a neighbor:

At first blush, the prosecution’s case against millionaire murder defendant Robert Durst could not be clearer. Police recovered body parts from Galveston Bay, followed clues to Durst’s apartment house and then uncovered evidence that the heir to a Manhattan real estate empire had dismembered the body, assumed the dead man’s identity and high-tailed it out of town.

That’s essentially what Galveston District Attorney Kurt Sistrunk and prosecutor Joel Bennett presented through 40 witnesses and hundreds of exhibits since testimony began September 22.

But is it enough? Is undisputed evidence of dismemberment, disposal, cleanup and flight enough to convict a man of murder?

In many jurisdictions around the country, it would be an open-and-shut case. But Durst has hired some of Texas’ best lawyers and is going with an all-or-nothing bid to win his freedom by conceding that neighbor Morris Black died in Durst’s apartment from a bullet that came out of Durst’s .22-caliber target pistol.

Durst, who is expected to take the stand late this week or next, claims that Black was the aggressor, let himself into Durst’s apartment and then menaced Durst with the gun.

Court TV reports on the case via CNN here.

UPDATE: Read a summary of Durst’s self defense testimony here.

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