New York real estate scion Douglas Durst finally took the witness stand at his brother Robert Durst’s murder trial.
Testifying on the brothers’ troubled relationship, Douglas, the CEO of his family’s real estate firm, told jurors on Monday that he believes his brother wants him dead.
“He’d like to murder me,” Douglas Durst said in a Los Angeles courtroom, according to the New York Daily News.
“I hired security today,” he went on. “I have fear that my brother has threatened to kill me, and I have fear that he may have the means to do so.”
Prosecutors allege Robert Durst murdered Susan Berman in 2000 after she allegedly assisted him with an alibi following the disappearance of his first wife, Kathie Durst, in New York nearly 40 years ago.
Douglas said his brother would break into his office to urinate in his wastebasket. He also said that he was a subject of a conversation in the early 1980s during which Kathie told Douglas that Robert stole from the family business.
Douglas called Robert a “very ungenerous person,” citing a time when Robert allegedly used a drill to back up the odometer on a car he was seeking to sell despite his immense wealth.
Douglas said that he learned that Kathie Durst vanished in 1982 after his brother called him days later, saying she was “missing.”
“His tone was very neutral and there was no great anxiety,” he said.
He also dismissed Robert’s claims that the family coordinated efforts to locate Kathie. Douglas said his brother never approached him for help, and that the only effort he was aware of was the “offer of a reward if somebody found her or returned her,” according to the Daily News.
Robert Durst’s life and his ties to the disappearance of Kathie Durst and Susan Berman were profiled in a 2015 HBO documentary, “The Jinx.” Robert Durst pleaded guilty to a federal weapons charge in 2016 and is serving a seven-year prison term. He was transferred to L.A. County jail to await the outcome of his murder trial.
[NYDN] — Keith Larsen