Attorneys for accused Los Angeles murderer and HBO true-crime subject Robert Durst are demanding a hearing in New Orleans for prosecutors to spell out the weapons case that has Durst locked away in a state facility as a suicide risk.
In a motion filed Friday that seeks a preliminary hearing, attorneys William Gibbens and Dick DeGuerin argue that the murder warrant served for Durst’s March 14 arrest at the JW Marriott hotel on a 15-year-old Los Angeles murder was unlawful and filed “to coincide with the final episode of the HBO docudrama ‘The Jinx.’ ”
That miniseries, which ended Sunday, examined the 71-year-old’s possible role in three killings. It presented new evidence that suggested Durst had a hand in the 2000 execution-style murder of Susan Berman, Durst’s onetime confidante and spokeswoman.
Durst is heard in the show making dramatic off-camera remarks in which he said he had been “caught” and muttered what many observers considered to be a confession.
According to a search warrant return, Durst carried a false Texas identification card bearing the name Everette Ward, the name under which he’d checked into the hotel. He also had a latex mask, 5 ounces of marijuana, nearly $43,000 in cash stuffed in small envelopes and a .38-caliber handgun, the document shows.
State Police booked the New York real estate scion on firearms charges, stalling his extradition to California to face the murder charge in Berman’s slaying.
Durst’s attorneys claim they are eager to have him back in California. In Friday’s filing, they claim there’s no probable cause to hold Durst in Louisiana, saying his prior convictions for bail jumping, witness tampering and a pair of federal firearms counts don’t qualify under the Louisiana law that makes it illegal for felons to possess firearms.
Durst also was booked with illegally carrying a weapon while also possessing a controlled substance.
“In addition, the state has failed to identify any circumstances indicating that Mr. Durst was in possession or immediate control of a firearm while also in the possession of a controlled substance,” the brief states.
Durst is due in court on Monday for a bail hearing, as Orleans Parish District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro’s office seeks to keep him without bail.
A date has not been set for the preliminary hearing that his lawyers requested.
Durst’s attorneys do not spell out in the legal filing just what about the California arrest warrant they found insufficient.
Durst, who jumped bail in 2001 after being charged with the murder of a neighbor in Galveston, Texas, pleaded guilty in 2004 to interstate transportation of a firearm and possession of a firearm by a fugitive from justice.
He claimed he killed the neighbor, Morris Black, in self-defense, and he was acquitted in that case, even though he dismembered the man and dumped his remains in Galveston Bay.
He remained Friday at Elayn Hunt Correctional Facility in St. Gabriel.
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