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Cross-Dressing Heir Found Innocent

November 11, 2003

GALVESTON, Texas (AP) _ Robert Durst, the cross-dressing New York millionaire, was found innocent of murder Tuesday in the killing of his elderly neighbor.

Durst shot Morris Black on Sept. 28, 2001, then cut up Black’s body and dumped the parts in Galveston Bay. Defense attorneys say their client accidentally shot Black during a scuffle when he discovered the man illegally in his apartment and with Durst’s gun.

Durst, 60, told jurors he came to Galveston disguised as a mute woman in November 2000 to escape media attention in New York after the investigation into his first wife’s 1982 disappearance was reopened. He said he became friends with Black after dropping the masquerade, but the relationship soured because of the neighbor’s aggressive behavior.

Durst said he panicked after Black was shot and decided to cut up the body, dispose of it and leave Galveston.

At defense attorneys’ request, jurors considered only a murder charge. They could have asked that jurors consider a lesser charge, such as manslaughter, in addition to murder.

Durst’s family runs The Durst Organization, a privately held, billion-dollar New York company.

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