Durst murder trial: Prosecutor says cadaver note proves guilt; defense closing arguments to resume Monday

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The infamous cadaver note in Robert Durst’s murder trial should be his undoing, the lead Los Angeles prosecutor argued during his closing remarks in the 56-day trial Thursday.

That’s because, in the 78-year-old Durst’s own words, it’s something “only the killer could have written.” The note also has a remarkable resemblance to an envelope Durst sent more than a year before the slaying – with the same misspelling of “Beverley” Hills and scrawling handwriting.

Durst is accused of killing his longtime friend Susan Berman, who was shot in the back of the head in her Los Angeles home in 2000.

“You can ignore everything else in this case,” Deputy District Attorney Habib Balian told the court. “And if we spent one day trying this to you, here’s what you would have: You’d have a note sent by the killer that only the killer could have written that the defendant has admitted only the killer wrote. And the defendant has stipulated, ‘I wrote the cadaver note and envelope that only the killer could have written.’”

In this still image taken from the Law & Crime Network court video, real estate heir Robert Durst answers questions while taking the stand during his murder trial on Tuesday, Aug. 31, 2021, in Los Angeles County Superior Court in Inglewood, Calif. (Law & Crime Network via AP, Pool)
(Law & Crime Network via AP, Pool)

The other envelope, sent form Durst to Berman a year before the slaying, was discovered by the makers of an HBO documentary series on Durst – “The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst.”

Durst testified at trial that instead of calling 911 to report finding her body, he mailed investigators a note with the word “CADAVER” scrawled above Berman’s address – the same address on the envelope he’d allegedly mailed her a year prior, in the same handwriting with the same misspelling.

“That alone is beyond a reasonable doubt without anything more,” Balian said.

The prosecutor also noted the final line of “The Jinx” series, in which Durst was overheard on a hot mic saying he “killed them all” during a bathroom break.

“Why does he say that?” Balian asked the jury. “Because, you’ve seen the evidence, it’s overwhelming: He did kill them all, of course.”

Durst’s defense attorney, Dick DeGuerin, accused prosecutors of “beating up on a sick, old man who can’t defend himself” in his own closing argument and told the jury that Durst’s being a liar does not make him a killer and that there’s no evidence that Durst killed Susan Berman.

The defense team is expected to finish its closing argument on Monday.

Investigators received the cadaver note after Berman’s slaying, leading them to her remains. The existence of the older envelope had not been known to investigators before the “The Jinx,” Balian said.

“They found evidence, and they turned it over, and they made it public,” he said of the documentarians.

During multiple days of testimony in his own defense, Durst told the court that he had written the cadaver note and that his previous denials about it were lies.

He said it would be too hard to fathom that Susan Berman’s killer was not the same person who sent the note.

Prosecutors share photo of Robert Durst (left), Susan Berman (middle) and Kathie Durst (right) at Robert Durst’s Aug. 11 murder trial. (Fox News)
(Fox News)

“I have difficulty believing it myself,” he testified. “It’s very difficult to believe, to accept, that I wrote the letter and did not kill Susan Berman.”

Durst has denied killing Berman and maintains that he doesn’t know who did.

He testified that he walked into her home and found her dead on the floor in a puddle of blood. He said he tried calling 911, but her phone didn’t work, and he used a payphone nearby, then hesitated about using his voice on a 911 call that would be recorded and decided to send the note instead.

“I decided that instead of calling 911, I would send police a letter telling them that Susan was dead in her house,” Durst said.

“The Jinx” explored three deaths of people close to Durst – his wife, Kathie Durst, Berman, and his former Texas neighbor, of whose killing he was acquitted on the grounds of self-defense. He was charged in connection with the shooting death of Berman after the shocking series finale.

Berman was shot in the back of the head from close range in her Los Angeles home in 2000, and prosecutors allege that Durst killed her in order to silence her before she could give police information about Kathie Durst’s disappearance at 29 years old. Robert Durst has not been charged in connection with her disappearance.

Fox News’ Stephanie Pagones, Laura Prabucki and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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