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Published:March 20th, 2015 16:06 EST

Was Susan Berman Blackmailing Robert Durst? Is This Why Bobby Had To Kill Her?

By John G. Kays

Much of my ignorance regarding the multi-faceted Robert Durst case(s) (not all of it), is lifting as I round up my research on Chapter 3 of HBO`s The Jinx, The Gangster`s Daughter. I went ahead and viewed Chapter 4 (in order to avoid earlier blunders of mine) and then realized the HBO producers (Andrew Jarecki and Marc Smerling) had provided a bit more information on the mysterious Galveston victim, Morris Black, than I had originally suspected. 

Not a great deal, mind you, but I was glad to hear Galveston detective, Cody Cazales, comment as to a motive for Bobby getting rid of Black. Morris had been doing research at the library (thus, verifying a folk axiom, too much knowledge can be an albatross on your shoulders), where he discovered Durst`s true identity; Black was fixing to contact New York and tell them where Bobby was hiding out (I`ve used Galveston to lay low myself a few times, so I can`t fault him for that wise choice [some famous pirates have done one and the same!]. 

Anyhow, I`ll add to that, Black may have been blackmailing this rich boy too *(where`d Black get $137K? - Gary Cartwright - Tex Monthly), and this is what got his body parts tossed in the Bay (we`re clueless as to the final destination of his head). Oddly enough, this synchs into Chapter 3, which is mostly dealing with the fascinating life of Susan Berman, a washed-up Mafia Princess of sorts. 

At one time, Susan was a very close friend to Bob, and may have known some of the darkest secrets of Robert Durst, which she probably shouldn`t `ave! I`ll put it bluntly, The Jinx did provide some evidence, proving Berman was blackmailing the crazy (diabolical, I mean) multi-millionaire.

In my mind, Susan died for the very same reason Morris did; she succumbed to the temptation of intimidating Bob (blackmail) with the tremendous corpus of data (goodies on the BadCat) at her fingertips. While experiencing wealth in her earlier years, when under the protection of her connected father, later in life, she got real poor in a jiffy, when her books and screenplays wouldn`t sell. 

But now (late December of 2000, I mean), Berman was in desperate financial straights, even having a Westchester DA, Jeanine Piro, wanting to question her about Kathy Durst`s disappearance (on January 31st, 1983); this may have made a contribution to her (potentially) lifting her silence of 17 years (her poverty was probably a better reason to pull out a card she`d been holding up her sleeve, for some time).

As such, Susan managed to pluck the Fat Goose for $50K; my own take on what looks like a straight forward blackmailing scheme, since she had fixed Bobby up after his wife vanished, pitching a cover that Kathy returned safely from South Salem to their Manhattan apartment (was the doorman bribed?), even advising him on how to get rid of a body (to Ship Bottom, New Jersey, just like The Boys use to do) is, you SILENCE A RAT IF THEY ARE ABOUT TO SING LIKE A YELLOW CANARY! 

Sorry about that; Susan Berman, from what I can tell, in this early stage of my probe, was a very interesting woman and didn`t deserve to die like that. I may even get around to buying and reading her books; one final observation, which I deem to be correct, is that, when Robert planned out how to kill her, and knowing her colorful past, cluttered with beaucoup shady associations, he chose as his MO the Method of Mobsters, with the idea of pinning her murder on them. Most clever of you, Mister Durst!