New York heir arrested as set to leave jail


New York real estate heir Robert Durst was arrested by US marshals to face federal weapons charges in Pennsylvania shortly before his release from a Texas jail.  

The surprise arrest came after Durst spent nearly three years behind bars after the September 28th, 2001, shooting death of his Galveston, Texas, neighbour.

Durst jumped bail after his arrest for the murder of Morris Black and was captured in Pennsylvania six weeks later. He was found to have guns and ammunition in his car.

His lawyer, Mr Dick Deguerin, said Durst had been indicted by a federal grand jury there on weapons transportation charges. "This is a chicken***t, vindictive, malicious prosecution," Mr Deguerin told reporters.

Durst, the son of late Manhattan real estate magnate Seymour Durst, was acquitted last November of murdering Black.

He testified that Black (71) died when the two friends struggled over a gun and the gun fired. Afterward, he chopped up Black's body and threw it into Galveston Bay because he feared he would be accused of murder.

Since the trial, Durst has remained in jail on state bail-jumping charges, but he was supposed to get out on Thursday in a plea bargain with prosecutors.

Local prosecutors had done their best to keep Durst behind bars on grounds that he was a danger to society, but Thursday's arrest was the first time federal authorities had taken action.

Police have long identified him as a suspect in the disappearance of his wife Kathleen Durst, missing since 1982.

He has denied any wrongdoing, but said in his trial he moved to Galveston from New York in 2000 to escape renewed publicity about his missing wife.

Durst testified that he had more money than he could spend, but he moved into a rundown apartment in Galveston and initially dressed like a woman to escape detection.