Hall of Shame: Robert Durst’s Worst Moments Since The Jinx Part 1

Hall of Shame: Robert Durst’s Worst Moments Since The Jinx Part 1

ROBERT DURST PROVES getting away with murder is often a futile endeavor, especially when you’re a rich narcissist incapable of shutting up. The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst from 2015 introduced many of us to Durst’s twisted mind, where impersonating a deaf, mute woman to evade police was a smart decision. It’s in this HBO docuseries where he made enough unfortunate decisions on camera to get himself arrested for the murder of Susan Berman decades later. With The Jinx – Part Two, he demonstrated how not even jail could save him from himself.

The majority of Durst’s involvement in the latest installment of The Jinx is recorded video and audio conversations he had with friends and lawyers from prison. Before he got arrested, Durst exhibited a level of ignorance that should be criminal. He had phone conversations with New York Times reporter Charles Bagli after every episode of The Jinx aired as if he were a freelance writer writing TV recaps and not watching himself incriminate himself on national television. He went on the run before the season finale aired and only got caught because he unsuccessfully tried to access his voicemail messages from a public pay phone across the street from where he was hiding out. Finally, once he’s in custody in New Orleans and being interrogated by detectives, he openly asks what he can get in return for telling the truth about himself. And that’s just the first episode of The Jinx – Part Two.

a person sitting in a chair

HBO

From the prison calls he made, he discussed altering his appearance to gain sympathy from the jury and spoke ill of any person who was against him, even if they were once friends. Those weren’t even the most unbelievable things he did in prison.

He tried to make his friends obstruct justice

Any criminal knows massaging the truth and withholding incriminating information from law enforcement are two of the best ways to beat a conviction. A smart criminal would know not to conspire with his friends to lie to the cops. At the end of The Jinx – Part Two‘s first episode, Durst is heard bemoaning about how stupid he was thinking he could lay low and evade the police. Then, right before the credits rolled on the screen, he told a friend of his they should expect a call from the Los Angeles District Attorney John Lewin before instructing that friend not to tell them anything.

You don’t have to be a lawyer to know that innocent people don’t advise their friends to obstruct justice, nor do they do that while law enforcement is listening. Durst was so ignorant of this fact that during a jail conversation with close friend Doug Oliver, he tried to tell Oliver what to say when he testified in his case. Oliver quickly reminded the disheveled inmate that Durst’s lawyers advised him not to speak about the case, a fact you can safely assume they drilled into Durst’s head before the call as well.

robert durst

HBO

Durst either thought he was smarter than or better than the justice system. Either way, his mistakes didn’t stop there.

He continued a love triangle with his wife and friend

Although he was behind bars, attached to multiple murders, and caught on tape basically admitting to one of the killings, Durst was still attractive to two women. One of those women was his second wife, Debrah Lee Charatan, and the other was his flirty pen pal, Susan Giordano. While fighting a murder case, Durst still found time to have jail conversations with Giordano, telling her in Episode 2 that he should’ve married her and informing her that he’d wire her $150,000 to build their “love nest” for when he was released. Meanwhile, when talking to his actual wife, he can hardly get Giordano’s full name out of his mouth before Charatan shoves it back down his throat by vehemently telling him not to talk about her to him at all.

Prison is a lonely place, but seeking out extramarital affection not only seems immoral but ill-advised, especially when your wife likely knows secrets that could send you to prison for the rest of your life. But here’s where it gets more unhinged. In Episode 4, he has a jail conversation with Emily Altman, the wife of his close friend and former lawyer, Stewart Altman. Out of nowhere, he asks the married woman to stand up and step back so he can see her body. Then, he tells her that she is sexy and asks if her husband tells her she’s sexy. Both she and her husband were due to testify on his behalf, and Durst, in all of his haughty ignorance, decides to fulfill some perverted compulsion by objectifying his close friend’s wife.

a man sitting at a podium

HBO

Emily Altman on the stand

The fact she led to his strangest decision since The Jinx aired is the type of irony made for TV.

He admitted he lied for decades about cadaver note

While on the stand in Episode 4, Emily became rattled by the prosecution’s questioning about Durst’s whereabouts around the time of Berman’s death in December 2000. At first, she couldn’t recall if he told her he was in Los Angeles, where Berman was killed, around that time. But after being pressed, she admits he told her he was in Los Angeles in December 2000. For decades, Durst has never told law enforcement he was in Los Angeles around that time. Now, he was put into a corner that required an unwise move to get out of.

The smoking gun of the first season of The Jinx was a note sent to the police by someone pointing them to the location of Berman’s dead body. Durst himself said on The Jinx the person who sent that letter likely was the one who killed Berman. In the finale of The Jinx‘s first season, Durst couldn’t distinguish his handwriting from the handwriting of the person who wrote the note, but he never admitted to authoring the note. Once Emily placed him in Los Angeles around the time of Berman’s murder, Durst finally admitted he was the one who wrote the note.

Durst’s lead defense attorney Dick DeGuerin chuckled when The Jinx – Part Two director Andrew Jarecki asked if Durst’s defense team agreed with his move to make that admission. Those words never came out of his or anyone else’s mouth; let it be clear: this was the biggest mistake Durst made.

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