THE JINX: Chapter 04 “The State of Texas Vs. Robert Durst”

By Jef Dinsmore on Mar 3, 2015 to Documentaries

Doc-logoOverview: 2003. With Robert Durst on trial in Galveston, TX for the 2001 murder of Morris Black, many of those involved in earlier investigations – including Westchester DA Jeanine Pirro and Kathie Durst friends Gilberta Najamy and Eleanore Schwank – are convinced that a conviction is all but assured.  Instead, Durst’s attorneys, led by ace lead counsel Dick DeGuerin, surprises the court with an unlikely first witness and a brilliant self-defense strategy. Dramatic footage from the trial, combined with revealing recent interviews with Robert Durst, punctuate the courtroom drama that led to a starting verdict. We start with a recap. 

Expectations: This chapter focuses of one timeframe and brings the story full circle back to the murder of Morris Black where this series started. I have starved myself of reading into the history of Robert Durst just so I wouldn’t spoil the shocking reveals bound to surface. I want THE JINX to surprise me and I think it will. I know he gets acquitted, but how is a mystery, at least to me. I prefer to take the dramatic journey Andrew Jarecki as set with this documentary series. Nor can I wait for what comes out of Durst’s mouth, both at the 2003 trial and his current interview. Here is the trailer for Chapter Four.   

Gut Reaction: Unbelievable. I could leave this reaction to just that one word. I knew he was to be found ‘not guilty’, but…oh just unbelievable. As this chapter started to play out my mind was spinning on reasons. Did the state prosecutors miserably bungle their argument? No, they did not. Did a surprise witness surface? No, no one did. Did Durst lay on some kind of pathetic yet charismatic charm on the jury? Well, yes he did appear to do so t some degree. Did the defense team focus the jury on some  weak defense that by some miracle stuck? No, it’s argument was a very solid and consistent one. It was very clever indeed. The charge at hand was did Robert Durst murder Morris Black (pictured). The defense was able to raise doubt that he had done so. Yes, reasonable doubt is raised time and time again in real life and on TV. One just doesn’t seem to expect it to come into play here.

A few interesting moments surfaced for sure. Let me single out one that viewers may not have caught, but Jarecki’s cameras did. The one younger member of the defense team, when he was interviewed today about what happened in that courtroom could not look the camera in the eye as he talked about the tactics used and the training they put Durst under. He implied that steps were taken that might seem less than honorable, but were permissible in the playbook. That all People_MorrisBlackfalls into place when you witness the last moments of the episode when Jarecki takes a break from filming the interview with Durst and Durst babbles on about his conduct on the witness stand unbeknownst to the fact that he still has a live microphone. It is brought to his attention by his lawyer that what he said was heard. Robert Durst admits he didn’t tell the “whole truth” but that “no one tells the whole truth.” 

Another unbelievable moment was just the revelation that Durst thought that dismemberment and disposal was a good strategy to employ. What? I thought the prosecution in that regard made sense. If the death was self-defense or an accidental firing of the pistol the act of dismemberment would not logically seem to be the next course of action. Normally a 911 call would be the next step. But, Durst did not want to be inconvenienced by police involvement when he was trying to disappear. As clever as Robert Durst seems to be he clearly makes some bad judgment calls, doesn’t he?     

From beginning to end this chapter played out as a strong episode of the limited series. What happened in that courtroom was exciting and surprising. To have pieced together audio and footage from that trial had more impact than just having Durst in his odd twitchy way recounting it.


In Conclusion: Robert Durst isn’t a jinx. In one way he is very lucky. He can travel the country doing whatever crime he needs to commit or be accused of such crimes and walk away a free man every time. He has been associated with three crimes and has only served a little bit of jail time. What is next? What is going to be reveled in Chapter 05? Does the trailer offer any clues?  


Next Time: THE JINX Chapter 05 premieres Sunday, March 08 at 8:00pm. It seems like they will delve more into the Durst family for clues as Jeanine Pirro continues her pursuit. As usual it should prove interesting.  


Find Chapter 03 here.
Find Chapter 05 here.

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