One of the more bizarre stories coming out of New Orleans right now is perhaps its most loosely related to the city itself. Eccentric (read: rich enough to keep the powers that be at bay) former real estate developer Robert Durst was arrested at the J W Marriott on Canal St and charged with murder stemming from a Los Angeles warrant, along with New Orleans weapons and drug charges. Durst was allegedly attempting to flee to Cuba because New Orleans is one of the lucky few airports with flights headed to Havana. He returned to the spotlight in his OPP best for a hearing this morning to determine his bond for the aforementioned weapons charges. He'll be back in court on Thursday, April 2nd. Until then, here are the stranger details gleaned from Durst's courtroom appearance. Curious about the deeper implications of the case? Check out Curbed NY's stellar coverage complete with timeline right here.
1. No one's surprised Durst didn't get a set bail bond, even his own lawyer, Dick DeGuerin. More of Durst's words were used against him via The Jinx. Remember that scene where he blows $250K on bond like it's a regular transaction? Turns out that's not the best long-term strategy.
2. Durst was being watched for quite a while. Not only was the FBI tracking his cellphone records and movements the day he was arrested but days before from Houston headed east. It was Durst's own calling of his cellphone from the JW Marriott that led the FBI to track him down at the hotel.
3. Former prosecutor and current Fox Newser Jeanine Pirro was removed from the courtroom because DeGuerin threatened to bring her to the stand as a witness if she didn't leave. Really. It wasn't until a heated debate and recess that Pirro was allowed back into the courtroom without testifying.
4. Durst was definitely all about the gulf coast. Additional information regarding what was in his hotel room at the time of his arrest include maps of Cuba, New Orleans, and Florida.
5. Durst also had a whole other, unused, ready for action cellphone in his room. Curiously, he'd left his home and car unlocked back in Houston.
6. That creepy mask was described in greater detail. It was certainly not something you'd find at the Halloween Store or atop a float headed down Canal St — the mask appeared to look like natural skin covering his face and neck and included greying hair on top.
7. In addition to trying to call himself from the JW Marriott, Durst allegedly also sent himself cash. He was arrested before he could see his package of $117K.
8. What's the scenario if Durst never leaves Louisiana? According to prosecutors, he faces up to two life sentences per local charge.
9. Durst is still considered a flight risk, primarily because, if given the chance, he has the means and the mass aliases to escape. To put it in perspective: the suggested bond amount of $1B was apparently even too low of an amount for the judge to comfortably approve.
10. If you're searching for Durst in the prison system, you actually have to go outside of New Orleans and head to St Gabriel's Elayn Hunt Correctional Center, where Durst had previously been held for a week and continues to be held until his next hearing. It's unclear whether or not he's a suicide risk but apparently Elayn Hunt is just a better fit.