Robert Durst Moved to Jail Equipped to Deal With Mentally Ill

The real estate heir has been charged with his friend's 2000 murder.

March 17, 2015, 11:57 AM

— -- Robert Durst was being transferred this evening a jail equipped to deal with the mentally ill, as he awaits extradition to Los Angeles to face a first degree murder charge, police said.

Durst, who appeared before a judge again today in New Orleans to face additional charges stemming from his arrest on Sunday, was being moved to the Elayn Hunt Correctional Center, which is about an hour away from New Orleans, an Orleans Parish Sheriff's spokesman said.

The move comes after the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal ruled that the district court was wrong to order Durst held at the Orleans Parish prison and that he should have been moved to the Acute Mental Health Facility at Elayn Hunt Correctional Center, as the sheriff had requested.

"It is within the sole discretion of the Sheriff to determine where to house inmates in need of mental health treatment," the court said in its ruling.

As Durst was being moved this evening, police in Houston were conducting a search of his condo in the the Rice Village neighborhood.

The real estate scion was arrested in the Marriott Hotel in New Orleans due to a warrant for the 2000 murder of his friend Susan Berman in Los Angeles, but when police arrived at his room, he was found with a .38 caliber revolver and marijuana, police said.

During his court appearance this morning, the 71-year-old appeared dazed, not immediately responding when his name was called. He was shackled when he walked towards the judge. Durst was kept isolated from other inmates and stood behind a plexiglass booth but approached a podium when addressing the court.

In court today Durst's legal team said he suffers only from mild Aspergers, but prosecution sources told ABC News they believe he suffers from undisclosed conditions that are "much more severe."

Durst's attorney argued that the original arrest was based "on a TV show" even though the LAPD has disputed that argument.

"Bob Durst didn't kill Susan Berman and he doesn't know who did," Durst's attorney Dick DeGuerin said outside of court today. "That being said my concern that the warrant that was issued in California was issued because of a television show and not because of facts.

"We want to contest the basis for his arrest because I think it's not based on facts, it's based on ratings. So we will continue to fight for Bob. We want to get to California as quickly as we can so that we can get to a court of law and try the case where it needs to be tried," DeGuerin said.

Durst will be detained in New Orleans through Monday.

This is his second court appearance in as many days, and on Monday he agreed to be extradited to California to face the murder charge, but Orleans Parish District Attorney Leon Cannizarro later decided to charge him with weapon and drug possession.

Louisiana State Trooper Melissa Matey confirmed to ABC News on Monday that an arrest warrant was issued for Durst and he was rebooked in the Orleans Parish Jail under the charges of convicted felon in possession of a firearm and possession of a weapon with a controlled dangerous substance.

Durst, whose wife went missing in 1982 and friend Berman was found dead in her apartment on Christmas Eve in 2000, has already admitted to killing one person, his neighbor Morris Black, but was acquitted by a jury because he testified that he had done so in self-defense.

"Let me just say that we came here to waive jurisdiction and to go back to California and to get it on," Durst's lawyer Dick DeGuerin, who represented him in the 2003 case relating to Black's death.

"Bob Durst didn't kill Susan Berman -- he's ready to end all the rumor and speculation and have a trial but we're frustrated because the local authorities are considering filing charges on him here and holding him here," DeGuerin said in front of court.

ABC News' Matt Gutman contributed to this report.

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