Convicted murderer Robert Durst’s health is improving, appeal pending

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The report marks an improvement in Durst’s health, as just two weeks ago prison officials considered Durst’s condition critical. The heir to a New York skyscraper is being held at a California health care facility in Stockton and is battling bladder cancer, among other health ailments.

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“The facility cares for the sickest men in the state,” said Terry Thornton, a spokesman for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

Thornton said Durst arrived at the prison medical center straight from the Los Angeles County Jail on October 27.


“He looked like death had heated up,” said his former longtime attorney, Dick DeGuerin. “He was lying back in his wheelchair and gasping for breath.”

DeGuerin says he is no longer representing Durst. The pair moved to Galveston, Texas, two decades ago, where the tycoon defeated his neighbor Morris Black on a charge of murder.

DeGuerin and his legal team were praised by legal experts for helping to persuade a Texas jury Durst to act in self-defense, although Durst admitted to killing Black and later mutilating his body.
Durst was convicted in September of the 2000 murder of his longtime confidant Susan Berman in Southern California. Now Durst will try to reverse the conviction without Daguerin and the way forward through the courts appears unclear.
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“Robert Durst’s appellate issues will be resolved in one of two ways,” said Dina Sayegh Doll, a Southern California legal analyst. “Either this will be decided by the Court of Appeal or will ultimately be made controversial by his ill health.”

In a letter to the Second District Court of Appeals in California obtained by Granthshala, Christopher Garcia says he is an attorney for Durst, but does not represent Durst in his appeal.

García wrote that Durst “will retain an appeals counsel” but that no progress has been made toward obtaining an appeals attorney because he is “being treated for serious medical issues … Can’t meet anyone else.”

Garcia did not respond to Granthshala’s requests for comment.

Garcia’s letter continued, “Furthermore, no one has provided any information about his current medical condition to his wife, who holds her power of attorney and medical proxy.”

Durst married Debra Lee Chartan, a New York-based real estate broker, in December 2000. Officials alleged that they married so that Chartan could handle Durst’s business affairs while he dealt with his many brushes with the law.

Weeks after the wedding, Durst’s good friend Susan Berman was found dead in her Los Angeles area home.

Prosecutors argued that Durst killed Berman because he thought she was going to implicate him in the decades-long disappearance of his first wife, Cathy.

On November 1, Durst was charged with murder in the 1982 death of Cathy Durst in the suburbs of New York City.


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