Episode 535: Robert Durst: The Murder, The Missing, The Mumbles
On this episode of the Sofa King Podcast we tell the story of Robert Durst. This is true crime at its best. Durst was born to a wealthy real estate family in New York, and after watching his mom fall from a roof and die, everything went sideways. He had a rivalry at work with his brother that made them keep lead pipes handy in case of fighting, and then the bodies started to pile up. Or, at least vanish. His ex-wife, his close friend, and a neighbor he met in Galveston. You know the place where he lived in disguise as a woman to escape officials?
So, where did this all start? In New York. Durst was born to real estate investor Seymour Durst, and after a tumultuous childhood, he went to UCLA for college. While there, he did scream therapy with John Lennon and Yoko Ono, and moved back east to start a health food shop in the early 1970s. Eventually, he met his first wife there and finally went to work for the real estate business. His brother was put in charge, and a rivalry started that got bad enough that peed in his uncles trash can at work. Like you do.
From there, he was let go, and a series of mayhem followed the guy. Kathie McCormack, his first wife went missing. Or, he killed her. She had bruises on her face a few weeks before the vanishing, and she showed up in sweat pants and out of sorts at a friend’s house the night before she vanished.
Then, there was Susan Berman, the daughter of a mobster who used to run the Flamingo Hotel in Vegas. They were close friends, and a few days after Durst visited her, she was found dead in her house, bullet to the head. Police got a letter that had her name and address and simply said “Cadaver.” While on the run from this one, he killed a man named Morris Black. His body was found in bags floating in Galveston Bay. Durst finally got arrested for this one, and he got a relatively light sentence because it was ruled as self-defense (they couldn’t find a head to prove if it was). From there, he got extradited to LA, where he is still awaiting trial, delayed thanks to Covid.
But that’s not all. The HBO documentary The Jinx covered the story and did interviews with Durst, even though his wife and lawyer said not to. In it, a lot of evidence comes to light that no legal team had assembled. In fact, some of the evidence was used in later trials. So what did handwriting experts say about the Cadaver letter? Why do they think he killed several other people on top of these three cases? What name did he go under as he dressed like a woman in Texas? Most importantly, what did he say on the documentary when he was in the bathroom, and his microphone was still hot? Why did it incriminate him even more? Listen, laugh, learn.
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HBO Documentary: The Jinx.