A key witness lobbed a bombshell at the defence at a special hearing in the case against Durst, who is charged in the 2000 execution-style slaying of writer Susan Berman at her Benedict Canyon home, in Los Angeles.
Nathan “Nick” Chavin told the hearing on Thursday, that before she was fatally shot in her LA home, Berman said that Robert Durst confessed to killing his wife.
Prosecutors allege that Durst killed Berman, his confidante, because he feared she was going to talk to detectives about the 1982 disappearance of his wife, Kathleen Durst.
“Susan said to me, ‘Bob killed Kathie,’” Chavin testified, adding that Berman told him the confession came from Durst himself.
Susan Berman [Left] and best friend Robert Durst. Berman was shot and killed at her LA home in 2000. Before she was murdered, a witness testified in court, Durst admitted killing his wife to her
Robert Durst is wheeled into court for his trial, Thursday
Earlier in the week, Chavin, a 72-year-old New York based advertising executive, testified that Kathleen was afraid of her husband, even fearing he might physically harm her. However she didn’t specifically state that Robert had been physically violent with her.
Asked if he believed Durst was involved in his first wife’s disappearance at the time that she vanished, “No,” Chavin, said emphatically.
On Thursday, Chavin said he first told police of Durst’s supposed confession to Berman in 2001, when he was interviewed by New York State Police Investigator Joseph Becerra. But at that time, Chavin said, he didn’t believe Durst had played a role in any of the slayings
At the time he was still under the impression that Kathleen had been killed by a drug dealer.
Chavin went on to say that his view changed seven months after the interview, when Durst was arrested in a grisly slaying in Galveston, Texas. Durst’s admission that he had dismembered the corpse of neighbor Morris Black struck Chavin as disturbing.
Until that point, Chavin testified, he had never believed Durst was “capable of hands-on violence.”
“It was like taking the gloves off,” Chavin said.
Kathleen [Left] and husband Robert Durst before her disappearance since 1982
Missing person’s flyer for the medical student and millionaire’s wife in 1982
Durst was acquitted of murder in the Galveston case after arguing that Black had been killed as the two men struggled over a gun that went off.
The relationship between the two men runs deep. Chavin testified that Robert Durst whom hed known for over three decades had been best man at his wedding. That Durst drastically changed the trajectory of his career when he won the advertising account for some of The Durst Organization’s holdings, a major player in the prime Manhattan real-estate market.
the Durst patriach, Seymour, became one of Chavin’s mentors.
His relationship with his former friend Chavin said, crumbled in the early 1990s, when he [Chavin] took a meeting with Durst’s brother Douglas, whom the defendant despises.
Robert Durst was acquitted of murder charges in the shooting death of his neighbour Morris Black, in Galveston, Texas in 2001
In court Robert durst claimed that on Sept. 28, 2001 he and his 71-year old neighbor, Morris Black, get into a struggle over a hand gun and Black was accidentally shot in the head, killing him. Two day later, a 13-year-old boy spotted a man’s torso floating near the shoreline of Galveston Bay. Nearby, police find garbage bags containing human limbs, along with a number of items investigators later trace to an apartment house in the 2200 block of Avenue K.
Officials later identify the body parts as the remains of Morris Black.
Kathleen McCormack, 20, wed the 30-year-old Robert Durst in April 1973
Kathleen and Robert Durst
New York media report the case of the missing tycoon’s wife, in Jan., 1982
After several years, the marriage grows strained. Robert forced pregnant Kathie to have an abortion. he was also allgedly, physicall abusive, as hospital records prove.
On Jan. 31, 1982: According to Robert Durst, he drops Kathie off at the train station in Katonah, N.Y., so she can head into Manhattan to attend classes the next morning. Durst says this is the last time he sees Kathie.
Five days later, he calls police in Manhattan and reports his wife missing
Author Susan Berman’s body is discovered in her home in Benedict Canyon on Dec, 23, 2000.
Los Angeles investigators determined berman was murdered in her home [photo] a day earlier than her body was discovered, execution-style, with a single gunshot to the back of the head.
Just weeks before her murder, Berman had been contacted by investigators who wanted to question her about the disappearance of Kathleen Durst. Durst in on trial accused of silencing his friend.
On Wednesday, Chavin described Berman as an exceedingly generous person — the type of friend, he said, who gave him a navy blazer worth about $400 after he moved to New York. She told him it was a must-have in work circles, knowing he was clueless about such things.