US tycoon arrested in old murder, says he `killed them all`
An eccentric US tycoon linked to two murders was arrested in connection with a third, just a day before the airing of a television documentary in which he said that he "killed them all."
Robert Durst, the scion of a wealthy New York real estate family, was taken into custody on Saturday at a New Orleans hotel at the request of Los Angeles police investigating the 2000 killing of his friend Susan Berman, and was being held on a murder warrant, US media reports said.
The next day the HBO television network broadcast the final episode in a six-part documentary series about Durst called "The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst."
In it, Durst, 71, is heard muttering to himself, "What the hell did I do? Killed them all, of course," apparently unaware that a wireless microphone remained switched on while he used the bathroom.
It was a sensational development in Durst`s case, which has been widely followed in the United States.
Durst was wanted over the 2000 unsolved killing of Berman, a daughter of a Los Vegas mobster who was shot dead execution-style in the back of the head in Los Angeles a day before police were to question her over the disappearance of Durst`s wife.
Andrew Jarecki, director of the HBO series, told ABC television on Monday that he and his film crew were unaware of the apparent audiotape confession until discovering it while reviewing hours of recordings some three years after the fact.
"I sat there in the edit room with my partners, and we just sort of shook our heads and it took a while to really understand the impact of it. It was so chilling to hear it," Jarecki said.
He told ABC that the incriminating statement, which came during their second and final interview of Durst, led them to notify authorities.
"We`ve been in contact with law enforcement for the past two years, so when we finally found... what happens in the bathroom, we contacted them and we said, `We have something more`," Jarecki said.
News reports said Durst was to appear in court on Monday, and would not fight extradition back to California.
In a statement to ABC, Douglas Durst, who runs the family real estate empire, said his brother should pay for his alleged crimes.
"We are relieved and also grateful to everyone who assisted in the arrest of Robert Durst," the statement said. "We hope he will finally be held accountable for all he has done."
Durst had long been under suspicion over his wife`s death in 1982, but has denied any involvement.
The wealthy real estate mogul was also charged in 2003 in the murder and dismemberment of his 71-year-old neighbor in Texas two years earlier, but was found not guilty after a trial in which he claimed self-defense.
The Los Angeles Times said authorities did not comment on what led them to accuse Durst now. But a source told the newspaper that the documentary had played a role.
FBI agents believe Durst may have been planning to flee the United States because he registered under an alias at the hotel where he was arrested, paid with cash and was found with fake documents, a source told ABC News.
Durst has reportedly denied killing Berman.
Durst`s attorney, Chip Lewis, told The Washington Post: "He`s maintained his innocence for 10 years now. Nothing has changed."
The Post said it was not clear whether Lewis knew about Durst`s recorded remarks in the bathroom, or if these would be admissible in court.