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Robert Durst Charged With Murder, May Face Death Penalty

This booking photo provided by the Orleans Parish Sheriff's Office shows Robert Durst after his arrest Saturday in New Orleans on an extradition warrant to Los Angeles. Durst's return to LA has been delayed by authorities in New Orleans.

Updated at 8:11 p.m. ET

The Los Angeles County District Attorney's office has charged Robert Durst with one count of first-degree murder in the 2000 death of Susan Berman. A statement announcing the charge also said that Durst is being held without bail in New Orleans, after being arrested Saturday by FBI agents. The Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office says the charge against Durst makes him eligible for the death penalty. The case is still under investigation by the Los Angeles Police Department.

Our previous post continues:

Despite agreeing to be extradited to Los Angeles, Robert Durst, the wealthy heir to a New York real estate fortune and subject of the recent HBO documentary The Jinx, continues to be detained in New Orleans after his arrest there Saturday.

Durst, 71, was arrested in a New Orleans hotel Saturday on a warrant that was issued by Los Angeles County for the 2000 murder of his friend Susan Berman. Durst waived extradition Monday, but The Los Angeles Times reports, "Durst's return to Los Angeles is delayed because local prosecutors are considering taking action against him." Lawyers for Durst say he will plead not guilty.

The Times continues: "One of Durst's attorneys, Richard DeGuerin, emerged from the court hearing and said prosecutors in New Orleans were considering filing charges against Durst, prompting the delay. He did not say what the charges were." The Times also says Durst had marijuana and a revolver in his hotel room when he was arrested and may face a marijuana possession charge and also be considered a flight risk. The New York Times reports he had checked into the hotel under an alias: "Everett Ward."

The New Orleans Times-Picayune quotes defense attorney DeGuerin saying, "We're frustrated because the local authorities are considering filing charges on him here and holding him here." He continues: "We came here to waive jurisdiction and go back to California and get it on."

DeGuerin said Durst "didn't kill Susan Berman and he's ready to end all the rumor and speculation."

The finale of HBO's series The Jinx ran Sunday night, and as we've reported, that episode included "audio of Durst whispering to himself, 'What the hell did I do? Killed them all, of course' — an apparent reference to the alleged crimes that have clouded his life in suspicion."

Durst has been connected to multiple deaths and disappearances throughout his life. In 1982, his wife, Kathleen Durst, vanished soon after discussing divorcing him. Durst was questioned but not charged in that case.

Susan Berman, a close friend of Durst's, publicly defended him after his wife's disappearance. But she was killed in 2000, around the time authorities were trying to talk with Berman about Kathleen Durst's disappearance.

And in 2001, Robert Durst admitted killing and dismembering an elderly neighbor in Galveston, Texas, and then dumping his body in the Galveston River. Durst claimed self-defense in that case and was found not guilty.

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Sam Sanders
Sam Sanders is a correspondent and host of It's Been a Minute with Sam Sanders at NPR. In the show, Sanders engages with journalists, actors, musicians, and listeners to gain the kind of understanding about news and popular culture that can only be reached through conversation. The podcast releases two episodes each week: a "deep dive" interview on Tuesdays, as well as a Friday wrap of the week's news.
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