(If you haven’t gotten around to watching last night’s episode of The Jinx yet and don‘t want to know what happens, stop reading here and click away. It’s okay, we won’t take it personally. Thanks.)
Much of the discussion surrounding Serial revolved around the idea of truth, and how it can shift over time and with different perspectives. (Well, that and the whole phone booth thing, but that’s another matter entirely.) HBO’s true-crime series The Jinx also deals with the truth, but in a different way. That’s because its subject, real-estate heir and alleged triple murderer Robert Durst, had never been convicted of anything, let alone unfairly. That may soon change, however, as over the weekend authorities arrested Durst on murder charges related to new evidence revealed on the show.
Durst was arrested in New Orleans Saturday as a result of a joint FBI and LAPD investigation into the 2000 murder of Susan Berman, one of three mysterious deaths with connections to Durst that have occurred over the years. The investigation was reopened after a letter to Berman from Durst was discovered that had the same handwriting as an anonymous letter sent to the Beverly Hills police alerting them to the presence of a “cadaver” in Berman’s home. The LAPD says it plans to extradite Durst from Louisiana to California; Durst’s lawyers say he will not fight the extradition, but will plead not guilty to the charges.
The arrest occurred one day before the season finale of The Jinx, in which Durst, seemingly unaware that his mic is still on, goes to the bathroom and mutters to himself, “There it is. You’re caught…What the hell did I do? Killed ‘em all, of course,” after being confronted with the letter on camera.
The timing of all this does seem very convenient, and Jarecki acknowledges that. But he tells CBS This Morning that he and his producing partners gave law enforcement officials the damning audio of Durst as soon as they discovered it, several months after the initial interview occurred. “The truth is we hoped that Robert Durst would be arrested as soon as possible and we were sort of amazed ourselves that he hadn’t be been arrested for so long,” Jarecki said. Explaining the delay, he added, “[The police] were going through their investigation.” According to The New York Times, Jarecki and his crew first got in touch with LAPD investigators in early 2013. Here’s Jarecki’s explanation of how he uncovered Durst’s (potentially inadmissible) confession; the full audio, as was played on The Jinx, is below.
“We actually interviewed Bob Durst two times. The first time was for about three days back in 2010, and we were surprised that he made a whole bunch of admissions and said things that were kind of shocking and we thought we would go back to them again at some point. We went back to them again a couple of years later to show him this new evidence that we had discovered and we thought we were done at the end the interview and he reacted in a strong way to the material that we showed him and then he got up and said good-bye and we thought that was the end. But his microphone kept recording. We always leave the microphone on him. He knows that and he went to the bathroom while it was recording. It wasn’t until months later that we had an editor listening to material that we had left behind, thinking, ‘now we have to listen to everything we got, we’re about to finish the series,’ and we discovered that we had this shocking piece of audio.”
UPDATE: According to the Associated Press, Durst appeared in court in New Orleans earlier today, where he formally waived requests for extradition. Durst is expected to be immediately be taken to California, where he will stand trial.