A former housekeeper told jurors Thursday that she saw a blood-like substance inside Robert Durst’s cottage in New York's Westchester County after the real estate tycoon’s wife went missing nearly 40 years ago.
“I was at the house, Bob’s house, and two officers came to the door and held up a newspaper that she was missing,” Elizabeth Jones testified, referring to Durst’s first wife Kathie, who vanished the night of Jan. 31, 1982, and is presumed dead.
“There was something on the dishwasher — looked like blood. It looked like blood,” she told the Los Angeles jury now deciding whether Durst killed his best friend Susan Berman in 2000 because he allegedly worried she might implicate him in Kathie’s disappearance.
Asked Thursday if the blood-like stain appeared new and “fresh,” Jones said it did.
She also described another observation she made inside the lakefront home in South Salem, New York, that day.
“In the dining room there was ... there was hidden panels above a closet, and I noticed fingerprints on them,” she said, agreeing that it looked like the panels had “been opened.”
Jones said she pointed out the mark on the dishwasher as well as the panels to the troopers, but they spent less than five minutes in the house.
“They just came in, looked at what I showed them, and then they left,” she said. “They didn’t seem interested.”
She said “a couple of weeks” later, she noticed something else odd at the house.
“I came in another day to clean, and the front hall had hundreds of rolls of toilet paper,” she said. “It was bags and bags of toilet paper throughout the front hall. ... And then the following week it wasn’t there.”
During cross-examination, defense lawyer Dick DeGuerin focused on Jones’ young age at the time she spoke to the state troopers.
“At 23 years old, you saw a stain and you thought it looked like blood ... But you showed it to the troopers, and they didn’t take a sample of it?” he asked.
“No they did not,” she said.
“Did that indicate to you that they didn’t think it was blood?” he asked.
“That’s correct,” she said.
Durst, 78, has pleaded not guilty to Berman’s murder, with his lawyers saying he has no idea who shot the 55-year-old writer execution-style inside her Los Angeles bungalow in December 2000.
The lawyers say Durst also has no idea what happened to Kathie.
The multimillionaire murder suspect was arrested in the Berman case at a New Orleans hotel on March 14, 2015, a day before the finale of the blockbuster HBO true crime series “The Jinx,” which documented his life.
The jury now deciding Durst’s fate heard excerpts last March from the final “Jinx” episode, shortly before the trial was adjourned for more than a year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The dramatic audio featured Durst muttering on a hot mic during a production break.
“There it is, you’re caught,” he whispered to himself.
“Killed them all, of course,” he muttered a few seconds later.
“What a disaster,” he continued. “What the hell did I do?”