Prof. Paul Rothstein of Georgetown Law says it's possible Robert Durst will pursue an insanity claim in newly-filed murder charges following the airing of an HBO documentary in which he is heard saying, "I killed them all." (March 17)
1. Prof. Paul Rothstein looking at papers on his desk
2. SOUNDBITE (English) Prof. Paul Rothstein, Georgetown Law:
"It's an astonishing case. The guy must be a little mixed up mentally, little bit publicity-seeking to get himself into this kind of hot water and he has provided fairly damning evidence against himself."
3. Tilt down from Rothstein to papers
4. SOUNDBITE (English) Prof. Paul Rothstein, Georgetown Law:
"He did seem to think that he was bulletproof because it happened so long ago and because he's getting away with it for so long, but in general for murder there is no statute of limitations so it can be brought anytime. So, he has put himself in the soup."
5. Tilt up from papers to Rothstein
6. SOUNDBITE (English) Prof. Paul Rothstein, Georgetown Law:
"It will be played for a jury, I'm fairly confident. The prosecutors will have to establish, very clearly, that it is his voice. They can show the circumstances, the system, how it worked and have voice identification, but it's just the kind of thing that the law wants juries to consider and decide for themselves what the ambiguity means."
New Orleans - March 17, 2015
7. Police car carrying Robert Durst
Washington - March 17, 2015
8. SOUNDBITE (English) Prof. Paul Rothstein, Georgetown Law:
"I don't think, even as skillful as his laywer has been for him in the past, I don't think the lawyer's going to be able to keep it out of evidence unless there was some terrible flaw in the system for recording it or something like that."
9. Tilt down from Rothstein to papers
10. SOUNDBITE (English) Prof. Paul Rothstein, Georgetown Law:
"More damning than that, however, I think is the evidence of the handwriting match and the misspelling of of Beverly in Beverly Hills in both the item that is definitely tagged to him and the item that they are trying to pin to him."
11. Wide of Rothstein talking to interviewer
12. SOUNDBITE (English) Prof. Paul Rothstein, Georgetown Law:
"Well, there is a possibility that he will raise a defense of insanity and will get off criminal guilt that way and I actually think that is a very strong possiblity here."
Robert Durst appeared before a judge for a second straight day to face drug and weapons charges.
He also is charged with murder in a Los Angeles killing 15 years ago, and has been suspected -- but never charged -- in the disappearance of his first wife in New York.
In 2003, he was acquitted of murder in a dismemberment death in Texas.
In a documentary that just wrapped up about Durst's troubled life, he mumbled about how he "killed them all," providing a dramatic kick to the end of the series.
But a law enforcement official said his arrest on the murder charge was based on words he wrote.
Analysis linked a letter Durst wrote to his friend Susan Berman a year before her killing with one that pointed police to her body, and that was the key new evidence in the long-dormant investigation into the 2000 killing, the official not authorized to speak publicly told The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because the investigation was ongoing.
Durst, 71, was charged Monday in Los Angeles with first-degree murder in the shooting of Berman, the daughter of a prominent Las Vegas mobster.
He could face the death penalty under special circumstances that allege he ambushed her and murdered a witness to a crime.
Prof. Paul Rothstein of Georgetown University Law School says it's likely that a jury will get to see the documentary video in court.
Rothstein also says it's possible Durst will attempt to use an insanity defense.