LOS ANGELES – New York estate heir Robert Durst he is expected to defend himself in Los Angeles The district court on Thursday is a rare move that is considered extremely risky for the accused. murder trial…
Durst is charged with the murder of his best friend Susan Berman, who was shot dead in her home in 2000.
Prosecutors are set to reopen the cross-examination of the only other defense witness, false memory expert Elizabeth Loftus, to start the day, and if defense lawyers fulfill their plans to call 78-year-old Durst, his testimony will follow. , and should last for several days.
A bold move once worked.
Durst’s lawyer, Dick DeGerin, also represented him in the 2003 Texas murder trial when he put Durst in the dock. Durst was charged with the murder of his Galveston neighbor, Morris Black, while hiding there after Berman’s murder. He said that Black was accidentally killed in a fight after entering Durst’s apartment with a pistol. He confessed to the dismemberment and destruction of Black’s body. The jury found him acquitted of the murder.
Prosecutors at the California trial were also allowed to present evidence from the Texas case and evidence that Durst murdered his wife, who disappeared in New York in 1982. Katie Durst’s body was never found, but she was pronounced dead. Durst has never been charged in connection with her disappearance and denied any involvement in it.
He also denied killing Berman, who, according to prosecutors, was about to talk to police about Durst’s involvement in his wife’s disappearance. Durst’s lawyers said he found her body, panicked and fled to Texas, sending a letter to the police that read “CADAVER” with Berman’s address.
Durst will likely take a position in the county jail outfit he has worn in court for the past few weeks, which his lawyers say was necessary because serious health problems make him unable to get up and change into a suit.
Durst has bladder cancer and a urinary tract infection. He was in a wheelchair and had a catheter inserted. His hair is shaved short because fluid had to be drained from his brain.
He looked much more frail than in his infamous interviews for the 2015 HBO documentary Jinx, in which he made several seemingly damning statements that were played out for the jury at trial. Durst was arrested in New Orleans on the eve of the airing of the final episode.
His lawyers sought deferrals and a wrongful trial over his health problems, but Judge Mark E. Windham dismissed them all, expressing sympathy for Durst’s condition, but stressing that prison doctors had declared him fit for trial.
Windham was determined to finally complete the trial, which took years to begin and which was suspended for more than a year immediately after its start due to the coronavirus.
The Fifth Amendment to the US Constitution and its defense against self-incrimination deter criminal defendants from testifying in trials. They can take a position if they want to, but making them dependent on cross-examination of accusers is considered extremely risky, and lawyers rarely do this.