Robert Durst denied bond on New Orleans weapons charges

NEW ORLEANS (KABC) -- Real estate heir Robert Durst, accused of killing a female friend in California in 2000, was denied bail on weapons charges.

A magistrate ordered the 71-year-old millionaire held without bond in a New Orleans courtroom on Monday. Durst was seated next to his lawyers in an orange jumpsuit in padded cuffs. He has been in a prison's mental health unit for nearly a week. Officials have called him a suicide risk.

Magistrate Harry Cantrell set a preliminary hearing for April 2.

In somewhat of a surprising move, one of Durst's lawyers approached the judge and said he cannot in good conscience ask the court to grant bail, due to Durst's past behavior.

Before his court appearance, Durst's attorney Dick DeGuerin had told ABC News his client's chances of being granted bail were "slim to none, and none just left town."

However he did argue that the warrant was invalid. That came as prosecutors revealed some of their evidence against Durst.

Prosecutors argued that Durst was on the run when they arrested him in a New Orleans hotel nine days ago. They argued he was a flight risk because Durst had stopped using his phone in early March, which indicates he knew police were tracking his movements, said police. Also, he fled the state in a car registered to another man and checked into the New Orleans hotel where he was arrested under a different name - Everette Ward.

FBI agents believed Durst may have wanted to flee the country, possibly to Cuba, as he registered under an alias at the hotel, paid with cash and was found with fake documents, a law enforcement source briefed on the investigation told ABC News.

In his room, officers found his passport, nearly $43,000 in cash, a flesh colored rubber and latex mask with salt and pepper hair, four big bags of pot and a gun, according to a search warrant.

Durst's lawyers say he was illegally arrested March 14 at the J.W. Marriott Hotel and that the arrest warrant for the murder of his friend Susan Berman is "invalid" and only filed "to coincide with the final episode of the HBO docudrama, 'The Jinx.'"

"Bob Durst didn't kill Susan Berman and he doesn't know who did," DeGuerin said outside court last Tuesday. "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."

His attorney also says Los Angeles prosecutors talked with Durst for three hours without an attorney present in New Orleans, which he argues is a violation of Durst's constitutional rights.

But shockingly, it's the charge of possession of a firearm with pot, incurred when he was arrested in New Orleans, that could keep Durst locked up

"The maximum he could receive for this depending on the number of priors would be a potential life sentence," said Orleans Parish District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro.

Over the weekend, authorities hauled out 60 boxes of Durst's papers out of an upstate New York home. The home's owner was a longtime Durst friend who kept his papers.

One of the weapons charges alleges Durst had a .38-caliber revolver, and previous felony convictions makes that illegal. The other charge alleges he had the weapon and illegal drugs - more than 5 ounces of marijuana.

Prosecutors have not said whether they will bring those charges before a grand jury.

Durst was arrested one day before the finale of "The Jinx," the show about his links to his first wife's disappearance in 1982; the death of Berman, a mobster's daughter who acted as his spokeswoman after his wife went missing; and a 71-year-old neighbor in Texas whose dismembered body was found floating in Galveston Bay in 2001.

On Monday, Durst was linked to a 1971 cold case disappearance of a Middlebury College student. Police released that he operated the "All Good Things" health food store at the same time Lynne Schulze, 18, was reported missing, but did not elaborate on the connection.

Durst has been tried only for the Texas killing, and he was acquitted of murder.

Durst waived extradition in New Orleans but is being held on the weapons charges.

The Associated Press and ABC News contributed to this report.

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