Douglas Durst Testifies Against Brother, Claims ‘He’d Like To Murder Me’
Douglas Durst, the chairman of New York City real estate giant The Durst Organization, gave damning testimony at his older brother’s murder trial in Los Angeles this week, saying Robert Durst wants to kill him.
“He’d like to murder me,” Douglas Durst testified Monday, the Associated Press reports. He said his brother has always “treated me miserably” and being associated with his alleged crimes is the “most embarrassing thing I have ever encountered.”
Robert Durst is on trial for the killing of his friend Susan Berman in 2000; prosecutors argue he killed her to keep her quiet about the disappearance of his wife, Kathie Durst, who went missing in 1982. Her body has never been found, but she has been declared dead. Berman was due to meet with investigators regarding the case just before she was shot in the back of the head in her home, prosecutors allege. She had previously given an alibi for Robert Durst.
In his testimony, Douglas Durst said he didn't want to give evidence, but he had been compelled by a subpoena. He added he has hired security to travel to California, even though his brother is behind bars.
He further testified that when Robert told him his wife was missing, his tone was “neutral”.
“There was no great anxiety in his tone. It seemed a little strange,” he said, per the AP. He said during cross-examination that while Robert did seem distraught, he himself would have been more upset had his wife been missing.
“There is almost no emotion that Bob shows that is genuine,” he said.
He also told the jury that Robert had told him her disappearance could be linked to a drug dealer that had visited the couple’s home, and that the last time Robert had seen her was when he dropped her off at the train to New York City from their house in Westchester.
Robert has long been a suspect in Kathie’s disappearance, but he denies he has anything to do with her murder. Robert broke ties with his family in 1994. Douglas told the court that he has not spoken to his brother since 1999 and last saw him at a family wedding in 2001.
The trial resumed last month after being suspended for a year during the coronavirus pandemic. Robert, who has bladder cancer and is currently serving a seven-year term for weapons charges, was previously acquitted of murdering his neighbor, having said he killed him in self-defense. His connection to the deaths was examined in an HBO documentary, The Jinx, in 2015.
The Durst family owns billions of dollars worth of pricey Manhattan real estate. The family business was founded by Douglas and Robert's grandfather, and it has grown to include skyscrapers like One Bryant Park, 151 West 42nd St. and a stake in One World Trade Center, the tallest building in the country.