HOUSTON --- In the upscale shopping district of Rice Village, you expect to find nice shops, good restaurants and expensive cars, but you don t expect to find a very rich man who beat a murder rap urinating on a counter in the neighborhood drug store.
Still, that s what law enforcement authorities allege happened in the latest twist to the strange saga of Robert Durst.
Durst, the wealthy heir to a New York real estate fortune who was found not guilty in a lurid 2003 Galveston murder trial, was charged with criminal mischief for allegedly relieving himself on a checkout counter and a candy rack at the CVS pharmacy in Rice Village.
Houston police said Durst walked into the store around noon Sunday. Apparently, he was a regular customer because the manager recognized him and he filled a prescription in the store, police said.
Durst didn t appear agitated or upset, the police report indicates, when he urinated on the counter and walked out the door.
I think he s kind of crazy, said Eli Sepulveda, another customer at the store. The guy, he should be in jail. He chopped a guy up and they let him go.
Durst claimed self-defense in his trial for the killing of a 71-year-old friend named Morris Black, whose corpse he chopped into pieces. He also admitted putting parts of Black s body into plastic bags and dumping them into Galveston Bay.
A trio of Houston s highest profile and probably highest paid defense attorneys -- Dick DeGuerin, Chip Lewis and Mike Ramsey won an acquittal that seemed to stun even Durst himself.
On Tuesday morning, after arranging for Durst to turn himself into authorities in connection with the odd incident at the drug store, Lewis once again defended his client, whom he said suffers from a form of autism known as Asperger s syndrome.
I take issue with someone that says crazy, Lewis said. Bob s not crazy. Bob s a guy who s just trying to live through the twilight of his life. And it s very difficult when you re Bob Durst.
Before his acquittal in the Black killing, law enforcement authorities had questioned him in connection with at least two other high-profile crimes. In 1982, his wife Kathie disappeared and Durst, who friends said physically abused his spouse, waited several days before reporting her missing. In 2000, after investigators probing that disappearance contacted Susan Berman, a confidante of Durst, Berman was found murdered with a gunshot wound to the back of her head.
Nonetheless, people who live around Durst said he s a quiet and soft-spoken neighbor who s been very supportive of his high-rise homeowner s association.
I ve seen him a few times, said Bob Martin, who owns two condominiums in the building. He s rather quiet, but he ll carry on a conversation with you. And he just seems to be like a normal neighbor.
Still, some people who live and work in the area think he doesn t belong there.
If he s convicted of criminal mischief, Durst could face up to 180 days in jail.
I think they need to put him away, said Scott Evans, another drug store customer. I think this is the last straw.