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Accused Murderer Robert Durst Stands Up in Court, Insists He’s Not Using Catheter Bag to Fish for Sympathy from Jury


Robert Durst‘s health has been a perennial concern amid his lengthy trial in the 2000 execution-style murder of his friend Susan Berman, 55, and it resulted in a striking image on Monday.  Durst stood before the court and denied the prosecution’s claim that he was faking his ailments for juror sympathy. The 78-year-old defendant’s attorneys had previously asked to postpone the trial so he could focus on treatment for bladder cancer.

An elderly defendant asserting health problems is hardly the strangest thing to happen in this trial. Durst is only on trial for allegedly killing Berman, but prosecutors are attempting to link Berman’s death to a series of sordid, tragic events dating back the disappearance of Durst’s wife Kathleen McCormack Durst in 1982 and the killing of Durst’s neighbor Morris Black in Texas in 2001 (where Durst was allegedly hiding out after Berman’s death). Durst was acquitted of wrongdoing in Black’s actual killing but was convicted of dismembering the body. The head was never found.

The story from prosecutors is that Berman helped Durst cover up his wife’s murder, and the defendant killed her years later to keep her from revealing the truth.

According to pre-recorded testimony from friend Lynda Obst, Berman said she called Kathleen’s medical school in 1982 pretending to be the missing woman.

“She was going to talk to someone about this case and blow it wide open,” said Robin Karr-Morris, another friend.

Berman never would. Durst allegedly silenced her, but in so doing, he also allegedly complicated an already years-long search for the truth. He plans on testifying in his defense, attorneys have said. It turned out not to be the first time he spoke before the court in such a memorable way.

Wearing jail clothes and sporting a shaved head, Durst denied manipulating jurors.

“I am not seeking sympathy from the jury,” he said in open court on Monday. “My head is shaved because it is the only kind of hair cut that I am able to get in the jail.”

The alleged killer denied purposefully lowering his chair in his Texas murder trial and said he was actually trying to get doctors to remove his catheter. It is Lewin who is bringing up the situation with the bag, he said.

“I don’t think it is meaningful,” he said regarding the bag.

Earlier in the proceeding, Lewin, who has faced his own issues recently, wanted it known that he changed Durst’s urine bag during a break in court proceedings. He wanted it on the record in case “there is some allegation of whatever might come out,” he said.

[Screengrab via Law&Crime Network]

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