Robert Durst was charged yesterday with first-degree murder as experts debated whether the alleged confession of the real-estate millionaire on a TV documentary would be admissible in court. Durst, 71, was arrested in New Orleans after being charged in Los Angeles with the 2000 murder of his friend Susan Berman. The arrest came soon before the last episode of “The Jinx,” a six-part HBO documentary about Durst's alleged role in Berman's death and the 1982 disappearance of his first wife, Kathleen McCormack Durst.
In Sunday's episode, he was recorded saying in private: “What the hell did I do? Killed them all, of course.” There might be some question about the ambiguity of Durst's statements, said Sherry Colb, a law professor at Cornell University, but “admission was apparently voluntary, was not coerced by law enforcement and was not the product of improper or non-Mirandized custodial interrogation.” James Cohen, a Fordham University professor of law, said Durst's final statements were “absolutely admissible.” However, he said the series showed that Durst is “obviously mentally ill.”