The murder case against Robert Durst was far from overwhelming. Only two men were present in his apartment on Sept. 28, 2001. One is Durst, who claims self-defense. The other is dead. The Houston Chronicle says that the question for the jury was whether the state had met its burden of proof for the maximum charge, and nothing less.
Durst’s attorneys decided not to give jurors a potential for compromise. “You’ve got to have the courage to go for the whole banana when you think you’re ahead,” said defender Mike Ramsey. The result was an acquittal yesterday.
Durst’s behavior after Morris Black’s death was incriminating, but not evidence of an intentional act. Prosecutors did not have much of a motive or even an alternate explanation of what happened.
“I think there was a lack of evidence to support the state’s theory,” said veteran Houston defense attorney Jack Zimmerman. “There was nothing to contradict Durst. There were no witnesses or physical evidence. This kind of a verdict should strengthen faith that our system does work. It had to come down to jurors not believing the burden of proof was met beyond a reasonable doubt.”
“I am impressed with the idea that a jury can actually follow the law and not go back to the fact this is a guy who chopped up some guy into little bitty pieces and threw him in the Gulf,” said defense lawyer Katherine Scardino.