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How 2 Letters Led to Durst's Murder Charge

Official describes key evidence as the letters, not alleged confession
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 17, 2015 7:40 AM CDT
How 2 Letters Led to Durst's Murder Charge
Robert A. Durst's attorneys, including Dick DeGuerin, center, and William P. Gibbens, left, speak briefly after leaving Orleans Parish Criminal District Court in New Orleans, La. Monday, March 16, 2015.   (AP Photo/Matthew Hinton)

(Newser) – A law enforcement official is speaking out about the evidence Robert Durst was presented with before he allegedly confessed to murder while wearing a mic. The unnamed official tells the AP that Durst was handed two letters during the final episode of the HBO series The Jinx: One he had written in 1999 to his friend Susan Berman—who was murdered a year later before police could question her about the 1982 disappearance of Durst's first wife—that her son found among her things. The second was an anonymous note that "only the killer could have written" that told police there was a body in Berman's house, the Los Angeles Times reports. Both feature similar penmanship and misspell Beverly Hills as "Beverley."

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In the episode, Durst said he didn't write the letter referring police to a "cadaver," but he couldn't differentiate between the two when handed enlargements of parts of the two pieces of correspondence. How the AP describes his reaction: He "blinked, burped oddly, pulled his ear, and briefly put his head in his hands before denying he was the killer." He then went to the bathroom, where the hot-mic moment was captured. The Times reports the filmmakers handed over the letter roughly two years ago; it's unclear why police didn't uncover it in the first place. The official says that evidence, which filmmakers gave to investigators, helped authorities charge Durst with murder. His alleged bathroom confession wasn't considered by prosecutors; its authenticity is under review. Durst waived his right to fight extradition to California yesterday. It isn't clear when he'll leave New Orleans. (Read more Robert Durst stories.)

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