Notorious San Francisco: Robert Durst

Real estate heir Robert Durst owned this modern three-unit building at 52 Telegraph Place when he was arrested in Pennsylvania for the murder of 71-year old Morris Black in Galveston, Texas. Black's body was dismembered before being discarded in Galveston Bay and in a trash can on or around Sept. 10, 2001. Durst used the dead man's i.d. to rent a Corsica and evade capture for a few weeks until Oct. 20. He was arrested for shoplifting less than $10 worth of merchandise from a Wegman's food market in Hanover Township, Pennsylvania. Police later found $37,000 in $100 bills in the car rented by Durst, the heir to a billion dollar real estate empire. Prior to the arrest Durst had been seen at an area diner wearing a woman's brown wig and white mustache. A waitress said he looked crazy. Another report of bizarre behavior has Durst arguing with himself over a beer at an area bar. Durst is also under investigation for the disappearance of his wife Kathleen, who vanished in 1982, and the shooting death of a Mafia princess. Authorities suspect Durst in the death of Susan Berman, whose books Easy Street and Lady Las Vegas detailed her experiences growing up with father David Berman, a longtime associate of infamous Las Vegas mobsters Bugsy Siegel and Meyer Lansky. Ms. Berman had been a friend of Durst since the time of his wife's disappearance until Berman was found shot to death at her Los Angeles home on Christmas Eve 2000. The house at 52 Telegraph Place was remodeled after Durst purchased it, but it's not known whether he ever lived at the property. On the day of Mister SF's visit, the place was eerily still. The mail slot was stuffed with junk mail, with more mail piled behind the door inside.

While Durst admitted killing Morris Black, dismembering Black's body, and placing the remains in bags before dumping them in Galveston Bay, Durst also claimed the killing was an act of self-defense - not murder. On November 12, 2003, a Galveston jury bought Durst's defense and returned a not guilty verdit in the killing of Black. Even Durst was stunned by the verdict.

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