Updated Sunday, March 15 – 5:53 p.m.
Manhattan real estate heir Robert Durst, the subject of an HBO documentary, awaits extradition to California today after being arrested at a New Orleans hotel on a Los Angeles warrant for suspected murder, authorities said.
Durst was arrested by FBI agents, in conjunction with the Los Angeles Police Department, at the J.W. Marriott Hotel in New Orleans’ French Quarter, where he reportedly was staying under a phony name.
Durst’s arrest came hours before tonight’s airing of the last installment of the six-part HBO documentary, “The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst.”
Susan Berman, a woman described by police as a close friend of Durst’s, was killed in December 2000. Her body was found in her West Los Angeles home on Christmas Eve and Durst has been the subject of an LAPD investigation ever since, police said.
“As a result of investigative leads and additional evidence that has come to light in the past year, investigators have identified Robert Durst as the person responsible for Ms. Berman’s death,” according to an LAPD statement.
Investigators working in cooperation with the Major Crimes Section of the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office secured a warrant for Durst’s arrest, police said.
Arrangements are being made to seek Durst’s extradition from Louisiana to California, according to the LAPD.
Durst will not fight extradition to Los Angeles, according to a statement issued by his lawyer.
HBO issued a statement lauding the documentary’s producers.
“We simply cannot say enough about the brilliant job that Andrew Jarecki and Marc Smerling did in producing ‘The Jinx.’ Years in the making, their thorough research and dogged reporting reignited interest in Robert Durst’s story with the public and law enforcement,” according to the network.
Durst was also suspected of killing and butchering a man in Texas named Morris Black. Despite admitting to dismembering that man’s body, he was acquitted of murder in that case.
Durst also is suspected in the disappearance of his first wife, Kathleen Durst, in 1982.
The FBI’s Los Angeles and New York field offices, Westchester (New York) County District Attorney’s Office and New York State Police have been investigating Durst, along with the LAPD and Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, police said.
Durst’s brother Douglas, chairman of the Durst Organization, issued a statement today expressing his family’s relief and gratitude over the arrest.
“We are relieved and also grateful to everyone who assisted in the arrest of Robert Durst,” Douglas Durst said. “We hope he will finally be held accountable for all he has done.”