HOUSTON - Real estate heir Robert Durst was in possession of a fake ID, nearly $43,000 in cash and a latex mask that could cover someone's head and neck when he was arrested at a New Orleans hotel on Saturday, a search warrant affidavit says.
According to the affidavit made public Wednesday, the FBI learned Durst had been withdrawing large sums of money since October. The affidavit also says Durst was found to be in possession of a fake Texas ID card under the name "Everette Ward" when he was arrested.
Authorities say they were concerned Durst had the financial means to flee the country.
The affidavit was for a search of his condominium in Houston, which was executed Tuesday. Authorities seized a cellphone, bank statements, credit cards, compact discs and various court documents from the residence.
The 71-year-old Durst was arrested on Saturday at a New Orleans hotel on a charge of first-degree murder in connection with the 2000 murder of his friend, Susan Berman, in Los Angeles.
His arrest came just hours before the shocking conclusion of a six-part HBO documentary about his life. In the finale, Durst is heard talking to himself in a bathroom immediately after a tense interview with the makers of the documentary, saying, "There it is. You're caught" and then "What the hell did I do? Killed them all, of course."
Durst has also been suspected - but never charged - in the disappearance of his first wife in New York and he been accused in other crimes and bizarre incidents, too.
Durst claimed self-defense and beat a murder charge in the 2001 dismemberment killing of his Texas neighbor. He was convicted of jumping bail and evidence tampering in the case in which body parts - but not the head - of Morris Black were found floating in Galveston Bay.
While on the lam in that case, Durst was caught in Pennsylvania stealing a chicken sandwich, despite having $500 in his pockets and $37,000 in his car. Durst is still worth millions despite his estrangement from his family with an estimated worth of about $4 billion. Last year, he was fined for urinating on a candy display at a pharmacy in Houston, where he has a town house. His lawyer called it an unfortunate medical mishap.
Durst could face the death penalty if convicted of killing Berman, the daughter of a prominent Las Vegas mobster, under special circumstances that allege he ambushed her and murdered a witness to a crime.
A law enforcement official said his arrest in connection with Berman's death was based on a letter Durst wrote to Berman a year before her killing and similarities it had to one that pointed police to her body.
That evidence, which was uncovered and made public in the HBO documentary, revived the cold case, the official told The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because the investigation was ongoing.
The search warrant affidavit referenced above indicates a forensic document examiner confirmed for Los Angeles police in November that the letter that had alerted authorities to Berman's body was written by Durst.
Durst waived extradition to California on Monday, but was then charged with being a felon in possession of a gun and illegally carrying a weapon with marijuana, a controlled dangerous substance. Officials say they found more than a quarter-pound of pot and a revolver in his New Orleans hotel room.
On Wednesday, officials said Durst was moved from a New Orleans jail to a state prison with a mental health unit after he was deemed to be a suicide risk.
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