Robert Durst – Trial Day 2 [Analysis]

The marathon opening statement of the prosecutor, Deputy District attorney John Lewin, continued for a second day yesterday. It was difficult not to get a sense that Lewin was landing a series of knockout blows that Durst – and DeGuerin – would simply never recover from. One of the devastating blows included never-before-seen crime scene images of Durst’s neighbor’s dismembered remains. WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGES.

Incredibly, Durst disposed of Morris Black in bags filled with the receipts he used to buy them, as well as a newspaper identifying the residence where Black had lived – an astoundingly daft error by the eldest son of the Durst Dynasty. It was the sort of dumb ass thing we’d associate with Chris Watts leaving the bedsheet out in plain sight after going to the trouble to dispose of his daughters in oil tanks at a remote well site.

As crazy cases go, the Durst case is one of the weirdest and most gruesome. Durst himself seems to be a combination of feckless and enterprising. The murder of Morris Black, Durst’s neighbor, is a prime example. While Durst showed some skill with his surgical amputation of his neighbor’s limbs, cutting him up at the joints, like a chicken, he stupidly tossed the severed limbs in black garbage bags in Galveston Bay, and these simply washed back ashore almost immediately. All this against a background of marijuana smoking and Durst himself dressing in drag.

Durst is a fascinating character, fascinatingly disturbing as both the architect of what may be multiple murders, and the developer of his own demise. His reckless snarkiness, which is arguably the reason he is who is in the first place, is why he is where is, and having to account right now for his sins. John Lewin at one point describes Durst describing how he cut up Morris Black’s cadaver, and instantly referring to the man as an object, a thing, an it. After Lewin’s statement, it will be difficult for the jury not to feel the same way about the repulsive, reptilian creature blinking black-eyed in front of them.

Durst’s rich, rolicking rollercoaster ride feels like it’s over at long last, doesn’t it? But let’s not be premature. The defense still have to present their opening statements. That’s next.

Kelsey’s Brother Clint Testifies and NINE other witnesses – PATRICK FRAZEE TRIAL DAY 2

On Trial Day 2 Frazee is in court neatly dressed in a crisp, blue-striped shirt. In criminal cases appearances matter. Impressions count just as they do for those wishing to get away with murder.

Before Kelsey’s brother Clint testifies, Cheryl finishes her testimony. She mentions financial troubles. Another parallel with the Watts case.

She mentions a strained relationship with her future in-laws. Another parallel.

And the winter sunlight streaming into the condo gleamed silver over what appeared to be wipe-trails.

The Judge continues to enforce strict protocols. Only the media may cover the trial in court.

When Clint testifies, he refers to finding blood in the bathroom.


Like his mother, Clint’s testimony regarding his sister is emotional, in stark contrast to the defendant.

Clint also remarks on financial rumblings, including a squabble over his [Frazee’s] father’s inheritance.

One thing Clint noticed that stood out – that didn’t look right – was a broom on Kelsey’s bed. The equivalent of the sheets stripped off the bed, or thrown in the trash, in the Watts case.

After Clint’s testimony, Kelsey’s work supervisor is called to the stand.

What was Frazee doing with Kelsey’s gun? Meanwhile, like Chris Watts, Frazee told others of relationship problems, whereas Kelsey Berreth hadn’t mentioned this to anyone.

The Woodland cop on the stand is Corporal Dena Currin. A 15 minute body camera recording is played in court. According to the Denver Post:

“We basically had a heart to heart that this wasn’t working out, that she wanted to go our separate ways,” Frazee told Corporal Dena Currin on Dec. 2.

Many people following the Chris Watts case have wondered how he thought he could get away with it, and carry on with his life as usual. The Patrick Frazee case provides a possible scenario for how one might act, or pretend, following a crime.

The defense will do their damnedest to argue a botched investigation, contamination and a compromised crime scene.

The trial is expected to last 3 weeks.

Intertextualities with the Watts Case:

1. Both cases involve plea deals.

2. Neighbor’s surveillance data while not conclusive, nevertheless compelling and damning.

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Differences with the Watts Case:

1. Friends knew about the plot to murder Kelsey – not only Krystal Kenney, who was in on the plot allegedly for three months or more, but also Michelle Stein who knew about the plot for a month, and did not come forward during this time, nor immediately following Kelsey’s disappearance.

2. Motive had likely more to do with issues of child custody than alimony [see below].

Further reading:

December 5th:

Bank manager: Patrick Frazee asked for surveillance video of himself from day Kelsey Berreth was last seen – 9News

December 11th:

Woodland Park Verizon store employee describes interaction with Frazee on Dec. 11 – KOAA

Kelsey Berreth’s mother, brother testify of finding blood, other clues – The Gazette

Kelsey Berreth murder case: Officer says Patrick Frazee’s seeming lack of concern for missing fiancée stood out – Denver Post

Kelsey Berreth Murder Trial: Patrick Frazee Showed Lack of Concern for Missing Fiancée, Officer Testifies – The Daily BeastCHILD-CUSTODY

Kelsey Berreth’s parents maintain physical custody of murder suspect Patrick Frazee’s 1-year-old daughter – Denver Post

Killer fiance Patrick Frazee almost lost custody of daughter after delivery-room tirade – Daily Mail