HOUSTON — The Houston lawyer who represented Robert Durst during two murder trials says his client was not an evil man, just misunderstood.
Sometimes a jury agreed. Sometimes it didn’t.
“The kindest way I can speak about it is Bob was odd,” criminal defense attorney Dick Deguerin said. “He was different from most of us.”
Deguerin said his former client’s health was failing rapidly last year during the murder trial of Durst’s friend, Susan Berman, who had been shot and killed in 2000.
“I didn’t expect him to last through the trial. He never should have been tried in the physical condition he was in,” Deguerin said.
A jury found Durst guilty of first-degree murder for Berman’s death in September.
Durst would serve less than three months of his life sentence.
Two days after sentencing, prosecutors in New York filed charges of second-degree murder against Durst for the disappearance of his wife Kathie Durst, who hasn’t been seen since 1982.
“He’s been wrongfully accused for 40 years of complicity in his wife’s disappearance,” Deguerin said.
Deguerin first met Durst back in 2001, when the multi-millionaire was accused of killing his elderly neighbor in Galveston.
Durst had been living in Galveston at the time. He was wearing a disguise and pretending to be a deaf, mute woman.
Durst was accused of cutting up the body of Morris Black and throwing bags of the body parts into Galveston Bay. Black’s head was never found.
Deguerin claimed it was self-defense, and a jury agreed. Durst was acquitted of murder.
“Bob had a mind of his own and his own ideas,” Deguerin said.
Deguerin said that although Durst was in custody in California, he died a Houston resident, and has a condo in Rice Village.
In 2014, Durst was fined $500 after he was caught on video urinating on the candy rack at the CVS pharmacy off Kirby in Rice Village.
“He’s always been a loner,” Deguerin said. “He’s always been viewed by his contemporaries as a little bit odd. That’s explained pretty thoroughly by the fact that he’s on the autism spectrum.”