Millionaire real-estate heir Robert Durst has admitted publicly for the first time that he penned the incriminating “cadaver” note that directed cops to his best friend’s body — conceding it made it hard to believe he was not the murderer.
The eccentric 78-year-old heir has for years denied writing the note that played a pivotal “gotcha” moment at the conclusion of the HBO documentary series “The Jinx,” when producers proved the damning note was his writing.
He finally admitted in court Monday to being the author — saying he lied because he knew no one would believe that the person leading cops to Susan Berman’s body was not also her killer.
“I mean I have difficulty believing it myself,” Durst testified in his murder trial in Los Angeles County Superior Court.
“It’s very difficult to believe, to accept, that I wrote the letter and did not kill Susan Berman,” he said.
Durst was arrested with Berman’s murder soon after the HBO doc aired. Producers had confronted him with evidence seemingly confirming he was the note’s author, and then infamously recorded him muttering, “What the hell did I do? Killed them all, of course.”
His decision to finally confess about the note is one of the few truths he has told, prosecutors complained.
“He has perjured himself probably 100 times and that’s not hyperbole,” Deputy District Attorney John Lewin said while jurors were out of the courtroom.
Prosecutors have alleged that Durst silenced Berman in December 2000 before she could tell New York investigators how she provided a false alibi when the heir’s ex-wife, Kathie Durst, vanished in Westchester in 1982.
Durst has denied killing his first wife and has never been charged with a crime connected with her disappearance. Her body has never been found, but she has been legally declared dead.
During his testimony, however, Durst insisted that he merely stumbled across the already murdered body of Berman, his longtime pal who served as a spokeswoman when his wife went missing.
“I did a double take when I saw Susan,” he said as he detailed allegedly finding her dead on a bedroom floor during a planned visit at her Los Angeles home a few days before Christmas 2000.
“I put my hand over her face … to see if she was breathing, to see if I felt breath. It felt cold. Then I grabbed her by her arms … her head just hung down,” he said, displaying no emotion.
He said he fled the house because he feared he would be a suspect if found inside — and then hung up on a 911 call from a payphone near Sunset Boulevard because he feared his voice was too distinctive.
Instead, he mailed a note to police that simply said, “CADAVER” and included Berman’s address — misspelling Beverly Hills as “Beverley,” a key fact used in the HBO gotcha.
Durst — who has bladder cancer — denied that Berman, who was in financial trouble and had been supported by him over the years, had been blackmailing him.
“Someone must have had a reason, a motive, whatever, to kill Susan Berman,” he said. “I had no reason to kill Susan Berman.”
Following Berman’s death, Durst drove north about eight hours to the San Francisco airport where he left his car at the curb — with the motor possibly still running.
When asked about his state of mind, he didn’t mention mourning the loss of his longtime friend.
“I was trying to decide if anyone would believe I had killed Susan Berman,” he said.
Durst then lived in a boarding house in Galveston, Texas, hiding there disguised as a mute woman.
About nine months after Berman’s killing, Durst then killed his neighbor, Morris Black, with police and prosecutors previously saying it was after Black discovered his true identity.
Durst was later acquitted of murder after testifying he shot Black in self-defense during a struggle for a gun. He was convicted of destroying evidence for chopping up Black’s body and tossing it out to sea.
Durst’s defense lawyers re-enacted the scene of the fatal gun-fight, wrestling on the floor in their suits and ties, eliciting laughter from the courtroom despite the deadly serious topic.
“That’s a full-service law firm,” Durst said, prompting more laughter.
With Post wires