Robert Durst’s greatest hits

A chronicle of the estranged real estate scion's most notorious moments

TRD New York /
Dec.December 04, 2014 09:00 AM

The new season of “True Detective” isn’t the only hotly anticipated murder mystery coming to HBO.

Real estate folk with a proclivity for stories that involve missing young wives, unsolved murders and multimillion dollar deals, will soon be able to check out a documentary about Robert Durst, the estranged brother of the Durst Organization’s chairman Douglas Durst.

And, much like HBO’s other dramatic shows, watchers may need a quick refresher course. In preparation for the six-part series, The Real Deal rounded up some of the most notorious moments from Durst’s past. While the documentary — titled “The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst” — will focus mostly on his alleged involvement in the disappearance of his first wife as well as the murder of a close friend and confidante, Durst has been in the tabloids for other fiascos as well.

Trespassing at his brother’s house
Durst was arrested in the summer of 2013 for allegedly violating a restraining order  issued in April 2012 barring him from contacting or coming near his brother Douglas. He allegedly stared into a surveillance camera at Douglas’ home at 413 West 43rd Street in June 2013. Robert also allegedly visited the homes of other Durst family members in the neighborhood.

Skipping out on his court date 
Following the alleged trespassing, Durst skipped out on his Manhattan court date in September. His absence prompted a judge to issue an arrest warrant. According to his lawyer, the defendant couldn’t make it because he was in Texas and suffering from “medical issues.” No further details were provided about his health.

Taking a whiz in CVS 
In July, Durst was arrested again after he allegedly exposed himself and urinated on a cash register in a CVS in Houston. Afterward, he calmly left the store without causing a scene, according to news reports.

Wheelin’ and dealin’ in NYC real estate
His antics haven’t stopped Durst from being an active player on the real estate scene. In July, he sold two buildings — one at 234 Union Avenue in Williamsburg and one at 250 Pacific Street in Carroll Gardens — for a combined $21.2 million. He bought the buildings in 2011 for $8.7 million with the money from his $43 million trust fund. BCB Property Management, which is run by Durst’s estranged wife Debrah Lee Charatan and her son Bennat Charatan Berger, announced the sale of the properties.

The disappearance of Kathleen McCormack and the murder of Susan Barber
These are the incidents for which Robert Durst is best known. They inspired, much to the chagrin of the Durst family, the movie “All Good Things,” starring Ryan Gosling and Kirsten Dunst. Durst’s first wife Kathleen McCormack disappeared in 1982. Her body was never found. Susan Berman, a friend of Durst’s who supposedly had knowledge of the case, was found dead in 2000 in her California home, after having been shot in the head twice. Durst wasn’t charged in relation to either of the cases.

Acquitted of the murder of his Galveston neighbor 
After Berman’s death, Durst relocated to Galveston, Texas, where he started masquerading as a mute woman. Police arrested Durst in 2001 when they caught him allegedly shoplifting a sandwich from a Wegmans Supermarket in Bethlehem, Penn. When they searched his car, police found money, guns and his dead neighbor’s driver’s license. He was put on trial for the murder of his 71-year-old neighbor Morris Black — whose body parts were found floating in the Galveston River — after the arrest. While Durst admitted to dismembering the man, he was acquitted of all murder charges in 2002 after the case was deemed one of self-defense. Durst did serve three years in prison in the early 2000s for bail jumping and evidence tampering.


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