LOS ANGELES (AP) — Lawyers for New York real estate heir Robert Durst acknowledge that he penned a note tipping off police to the location of the body of a friend he’s accused of killing, according to court documents.
In a court filing Christmas Eve in Los Angeles Superior Court, lawyers for Durst conceded he had written the note directing police to the home of his best friend, Susan Berman, in December 2000.
Durst, 76, pleaded not guilty to murder in Berman’s death but told a documentary film crew that the letter could only have been sent by the killer.
The revelation was made in a joint filing by defense lawyers and prosecutors on stipulations for a trial scheduled for Feb. 10. Attorneys for Durst said they made the concession as a strategic decision after the judge agreed to admit the evidence based on analysis by handwriting experts.
The defense said they will still contest that ruling on appeal. Attorney Dick DeGuerin said in an email to The Associated Press that the defense won’t comment on the stipulation.
“This does not change the facts that Bob Durst didn’t kill Susan Berman and he doesn’t know who did,” DeGuerin said.
Durst is accused of shooting Berman in the back of the head at point-blank range in her home. He feared his onetime unofficial spokeswoman was going to tell police what she knew about the mysterious disappearance of his wife, Kathleen, in New York in 1982, prosecutors said.
Kathleen Durst has never been found and was declared dead two years ago. Robert Durst, reportedly worth $100 million, is considered the prime suspect in her presumed killing but has never been charged.
Witnesses who testified in pretrial hearings said Berman told them Durst acknowledged killing his wife and that she helped him cover up the crime. They also testified that Berman said if anything happened to her, Durst would be responsible.
The note sent to the Beverly Hills Police Department has been considered a smoking gun in the case since the finale of “The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst” aired on HBO in 2015.
Durst was shown the note written in block letters that only included the address of Berman’s house and the word “cadaver.” He denied writing the note but said only the killer could have written it.
The envelope was addressed in large block letters with Beverly misspelled “Beverley.” Durst began to stammer when the filmmakers confronted him with a nearly identical note he once wrote to Berman with the name misspelled the same way.
The interview then ended and Durst walked into a bathroom unaware he was still wearing a live microphone. He was heard muttering to himself: “You’re caught! What the hell did I do? Killed them all, of course.”