As Robert Durst fights charges he murdered his friend and confidant Susan Berman in 2000, questions are arising about his wife Debrah Lee Charatan.

Robert Durst’s Second Wife: Debrah Lee Charatan

Charatan, 58, is Durst’s second wife – his first, Kathleen Durst, mysteriously disappeared in 1982 and many suspect Durst murdered her. Durst married Charatan when the investigation into his wife’s disappearance was revived in 2000, and barely a week after their wedding day, Durst supposedly left for California, where Berman lived and was found dead.

The nature of Durst’s relationship with Charatan is somewhat of a mystery, as soon after Berman’s murder, Durst disappeared only to resurface a year later after being arrested in Texas for the murder of his neighbor. Charatan was his first call from prison, and was the one who wired him the $300,000 bail. Durst then ran from the police, and was only arrested a few years later. During his trial for the murder of Morris Black, Charatan remained loyal to Durst, visiting him in jail and appearing in court.

Footage of a police interview with Charatan from that time was used in the HBO series The Jinx, which explored Durst’s mysterious and strange past.

When Charatan married Durst, she was a recent divorcée and real estate broker. She is considered a major player in the New York real estate market, mostly due to the real estate company she founded with her son using her $20 million share of Durst’s $65 million estate.

According to Durst himself, their marriage was grounded in a financial agreement: Durst has testified that he married Charatan and gave her power of attorney so that in the event of his death, his fortune would not be returned to the Durst family, from which he was estranged.

“I wanted Debbie to be able to receive my inheritance, and I intended to kill myself,” Durst said in 2005.

Some are speculating that their relationship has since soured. The New York Times reported that, while Durst is being held in police custody in New Orleans, Charatan is currently busy in New York, where she lives with one of Durst’s lawyers, Steven I. Holm. Regardless of their relationship, Durst and Charatan remain legally married, which could impact Durst’s upcoming trial, as Charatan would receive spousal privilege, meaning she might not have to testify against her husband.

Robert Durst Fights Gun And Drug Charges

Meanwhile Durst, who was arrested in New Orleans on March 15 and charged with having a .38 revolver and about 150 grams of marijuana, is looking to get his Louisiana gun and drug charges thrown out. Durst’s lawyers are arguing that the FBI searched Durst’s New Orleans hotel room without a warrant when Durst had already been detained.

“Mr. Durst’s hotel room was secure and paid for, Mr. Durst was safely in custody, and there was no contraband in plain view. The FBI agents could have simply closed the door and left, and there was no need for the FBI to ensure ‘safekeeping’ of Mr. Durst’s belongings,” Durst’s lawyers wrote in a motion to dismiss the charges.

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