LOS ANGELES (AP) — Robert Durst
's estranged brother, the real estate
heir on trial
in his best friend's slaying, testified reluctantly Monday that the two never got along and that he was afraid his oldest sibling would kill him.
told jurors in Los Angeles County Superior Court
, "He'd like to murder
Douglas Durst, chairman of one of New York's largest commercial real estate firms, said he hadn't seen his brother in 20 years and hadn't spoken to him since 1999, and that Robert Durst was angry and bitter about an acrimonious inheritance settlement worth tens of millions of dollars.
Douglas Durst, chairman of the Durst Organization, which owns some of Manhattan
's most prestigious skyscrapers and 2,500 apartments, said he and his brother had been fighting since they were children
“He mistreated me,” Douglas Durst said, “he would fight with me at every opportunity and embarrass me.”
Despite the bad blood, Douglas Durst said he was reluctant to testify against his brother, who is on trial for fatally shooting Susan Berman
in her Los Angeles home in 2000, but he did cooperate with prosecutors under threat of subpoena.
“There are other places I'd rather be,” he admitted.
Prosecutors claim Berman provided Robert Durst with an alibi after he killed his first wife, Kathie, in 1982, and that he silenced his friend to prevent her from telling police
what she knew about the disappearance. Robert Durst has pleaded not guilty.
Douglas Durst testified that Kathie Durst
informed him that she intended to divorce
Douglas Durst said his brother told him she had vanished a few days after he put her on a train to New York City
from their lakeside house
in Westchester County, and that was the last time he saw his wife.
“His tone was very neutral,” Douglas Durst said, adding, “there was no great anxiety in his tone, which seemed a little strange.”
Kathie Durst was never found, but she was declared legally dead; Robert Durst has long been suspected of her death
, but he has denied any involvement and has never been charged with a crime
related to her disappearance.
Douglas Durst, who was tanned and dressed in a crisp white shirt
with French cuffs and a gray mask due to COVID-19
restrictions, cut a much different figure than his ailing brother.
Robert Durst, 78, was seated in a wheelchair
and dressed in brown jail scrubs, his head shaved to reveal a massive scar from removing fluid from his skull.
Durst, who suffers from bladder cancer
and other ailments, stood up and addressed the judge
in response to Deputy District Attorney John Lewin
's suggestion that displaying his urine bag was an attempt to elicit sympathy from jurors.
Durst claims his head was shaved because it was the only haircut he could get in jail, and he requests that a doctor remove a catheter.
“I'm not looking for sympathy from the jury,” Durst said, his voice raspy.