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Robert Durst to be moved to Indiana prison, but lawyer wants him sent to Los Angeles for murder trial

Robert Durst in March 2015 after his arraignment in a federal weapons case in New Orleans.
(Gerald Herbert / Associated Press)

New York real estate heir Robert Durst has been assigned to an Indiana federal prison, frustrating his defense attorney, who said Sunday that he wants Durst sent to Los Angeles to face a murder charge in the death of his friend Susan Berman.

Last December, the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office reached an extradition deal with Durst’s attorneys. Durst, 73, was due to be transferred by Aug. 18 to a federal prison in Southern California after he agreed to plead guilty to a weapons charge in New Orleans.

But Durst has remained in a Louisiana jail. His legal team learned Friday that he was to be relocated to a federal prison with a specialized medical facility in Terre Haute, Ind.

“It is contrary to everything that was agreed upon,” attorney Richard DeGuerin told The Times. “He wanted to get to trial in Los Angeles. Prosecutors want him there for a trial.”

The L.A. County district attorney’s office could not be reached for comment. DeGuerin said he would try to block the move to Indiana.

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A Durst murder trial would be one of the highest-profile criminal trials the Los Angeles courts have seen in years.

Durst was the subject of the HBO documentary “The Jinx.”

The six-part series explored the disappearance of his wife in 1982 and the slaying of Berman, a writer who was found dead in her Benedict Canyon home in 2000. Durst has already beaten one murder case in Texas and remains a suspect in his wife’s disappearance.

Before the series finale, Durst disappeared from his Houston condo, prompting a manhunt that ended in New Orleans. Federal prosecutors filed a weapons case against him after FBI agents found a loaded revolver in his hotel room there.

Durst pleaded guilty to a weapons charge and was sentenced in April to seven years and one month in federal prison. DeGuerin said he visited Durst this weekend in the St. Charles Parish jail, about 25 miles from New Orleans. The lawyer said he hoped to have more details on Durst’s status after conferring with prison officials Monday.

Durst has insisted he had nothing to do with Berman’s fatal shooting.

In a letter to a Times reporter, Durst wrote that he is eager to come to Los Angeles to defend himself.

“I’d rather be going to California on my own, but I’m anxious to get to trial to prove I didn’t kill Susan Berman,” Durst wrote. “You couldn’t print what I think about ‘The Jinx.’ I didn’t kill Susan Berman and I don’t know who did.”

matt.hamilton@latimes.com

Twitter: @MattHjourno.

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