Durst Drama

Controversial con Robert Durst is one step closer to ending his protracted visit to New Orleans. On Wednesday (4.27), the eccentric real estate heir and suspected murderer was sentenced to serve seven years and one month in a federal penitentiary according to the Department of Justice (DOJ).


U.S. District Judge Kurt Engelhardt signed off on a plea deal for the 73-year-old felon that falls short of the mandatory ten years in prison and a 250,000 dollar fine that is the maximum sentence that Durst could have faced for illegally carrying a .38-caliber revolver after being convicted of a felony. 


Durst’s legal team requested that Engelhardt send him to Terminal Island, California, about 30 miles from Los Angeles. They contend that the California prison has medical facilities required by their client and add that the location is close to the trial venue for the Susan Berman case.


In Los Angeles, Durst will stand trial on murder charges in the murder case. His arrest in New Orleans delayed the start of those proceedings. However, serving time on the West Coast would provide a de facto extradition.


At issue are some firearms infractions discovered in the wake of the initial Louisiana arrest. He was previously arraigned on charges of illegal possession of a firearm by a felon, and possession of a firearm in the presence of a controlled dangerous substance.


In March 2015, the New Orleans FBI Violent Crime Task Force served a warrant to search Durst’s room at the J.W. Marriot on Canal at the bequest of Los Angeles authorities. The investigation yielded a .38 caliber Smith and Wesson revolver and about 5.2 ounces of marijuana. Federal prosecutors pushed the gun charges, but did not take action on the weed.


Durst has been the subject of decades of mass culture fascination culminating with the HBO’s hit documentary miniseries, “The Jinx.” 


Three murder cases have involved him as the prime suspect. The current booking is linked to the December 2000 killing of his friend, Berman. Durst’s lawyer previously said that he will not resist extradition, but instead deal with the case in California courts. 


In 1982, Durst’s wife Kathleen McCormack vanished with no trace to this day. In 2003, the mogul admitted to dismembering his “friend” in Galveston, Texas. After a million plus dollar defense, a jury found him innocent of homicide ruling that he acted in self-defense.

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