Robert Durst appears in court on gun, marijuana charges

NEW ORLEANS (KABC) -- Robert Durst, the real estate heir linked to the deaths of three people, appeared in court for a second straight day Tuesday morning to face drug and weapons charges.

During his court appearance Tuesday, Durst appeared dazed, not immediately responding when his name was called. He was shackled when he walked towards the judge.

Durst, who suffers from mild Asperger's syndrome, was transferred to the Elayn Hunt Correctional Center Tuesday night, a jail equipped to deal with the mentally ill.

As Durst was being moved, police in Houston conducted a search of his condo, according to ABC News.

On Monday, Durst was charged in Los Angeles with first-degree murder in the shooting of his one-time friend Susan Berman 15 years ago.

An emphatic declaration was made in New Orleans Tuesday denouncing the murder charges filed by the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office.

"Bob Durst didn't kill Susan Berman and he doesn't know who did," Durst's attorney, Dick DeGuerin, said outside of court. "That being said my concern that the warrant that was issued in California was issued because of a television show and not because of facts."

"We want to contest the basis for his arrest because I think it's not based on facts, it's based on ratings. So we will continue to fight for Bob. We want to get to California as quickly as we can so that we can get to a court of law and try the case where it needs to be tried," DeGuerin said.

LAPD cold case detectives say they now have evidence that Durst killed Berman in her Benedict Canyon home. The complaint alleges that Durst ambushed her.

On that night in December 2000, Berman was preparing to tell New York Police Department investigators what she knew about Durst and the mysterious disappearance of his wife, Kathleen, in 1982. She was declared dead long after she vanished. Her body has never been found.

Durst has been suspected - but never charged - in Kathleen's disappearance.

In the L.A. complaint, the district attorney's office says that Berman was a witness to a crime and was intentionally killed because of that fact. It does not, however, detail what type of crime Berman might have witnessed.

In 2003, the 71-year-old was acquitted of murder in the death of his neighbor, Morris Black, in Texas. During the trial, Durst's lawyers said he killed Black in self-defense, but he admitted to using a paring knife, two saws and an ax to dismember the body and dispose of it.

A six-part HBO documentary series titled "The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst" profiled Durst's connections to the three different murders: his wife Kathleen, Berman and Black.

In its finale, which aired Sunday, Durst was heard muttering what sounds like a confession as he stepped away to the bathroom still wearing the live microphone.

"There it is. You're caught!" he whispered to himself. "What the hell did I do? Killed them all, of course."

LAPD Chief Charlie Beck rejected any thought that LAPD was guided by any tip from "The Jinx" producers.

"It's a unique set of circumstances, but our case is independent of the documentary," Beck said. "We have been actively investigating the Susan Berman homicide for almost 15 years now."

The startling statement, however, is evidence that could be used at trial, according to Loyola Law School professor Laurie Levenson.

"If they had not made a documentary, you would have thought that this script is too bizarre even for a movie," she said. "Durst's comment in the bathroom is absolutely admissible. No one forced him to say it. The question is, how much is it worth? Because he'll say, 'I didn't really mean it. I was just repeating what other people were saying.'"

Aiding LAPD, the FBI arrested Durst at a New Orleans hotel Saturday before the finale aired. He was carrying a revolver and marijuana, according to prosecutors. Durst was rebooked on charges of being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm, and possession of a weapon with a controlled dangerous substance.

It was not clear how soon Durst would be returned to California. Another hearing is scheduled for next Monday in New Orleans.

The Associated Press and ABC News contributed to this report.

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