A look at Robert Durst's time living in Houston

For past 10 years, Durst has called Houston home; controversy followed him along way

By Jace Larson - Investigative Reporter

HOUSTON - By now you've heard his name. You might have even seen the documentary on his life. But few people know the details of Robert Durst's time living in Houston. For the last 10 years he's called Houston home and controversy followed him along the way.

Channel 2 Investigates traced Durst's Houston years.

Those years included their share of bizarre incidents, like when he walked into a CVS Pharmacy on Kirby last July, picked up a prescription, then dropped his pants and urinated on a row of candy.

Durst came to Houston in 2005. In 2005, Craig Nassi was developing the Royalton on Allen Parkway, a condo building for the ultra wealthy.

"A beautiful luxurious, white-glove building -- some 30 stories," Nassi said.

A woman from New York contacted Nassi out of the blue. She wanted to buy a condo, sight unseen.

"The call was weird," Nassi said. "It was, you know, 'I want to buy a unit, all cash, and I'm in New York and I won't be there, but I'll do everything over the phone.'"

Nassi had no idea the buyer, Debrah Lee Charatan, was really Durst's second wife and she wasn't buying for herself.

Channel 2 dug up a property record showing Charatan bought a Royalton condo, but quickly sold it to Durst for $10.

"He's showing up here as his first place to live after being out of jail," Nassi said. "We do not want him in the building because once he's in, the rest of the people in this building are going to be terrified and we'll have no luck selling other apartments."

Durst demanded he be allowed to move in. Nassi refused and tripled security.

Nassi said, "You know, he's a cross-dresser. He has many disguises. I said, 'We need to be on the lookout for everything.'"

Durst sued Nassi and Nassi knew he might lose.

"Not only was he a violent crazy guy, but he's also a businessman. Money spoke loudly," Nassi said. "We paid him in excess of a hundreds -- couple hundred thousand dollars above what he paid for his apartment, bought it back."

Durst did eventually find a place to live -- a luxury condo near Rice Village on Robinhood. He was spotted frequenting local hot spots like Starbucks and Croisant Brioche.

Over a few years, he bought three units in the highrise. One was Mark Thuesen's newly remodeled condo with a floor to ceiling marble bathroom.

"I had put in a shower that had about 15 shower heads with 7 to 8 handles," Thuesen said.

But, Durst didn't like it.

"He gutted the shower and removed the heads and reduced it to one shower head," said Thuesen.

Durst continued under the radar until he was caught urinating at the CVS. He pleaded no contest and paid a $500 fine.

By that point, murder suspicions were growing and Durst sensed it. He started withdrawing money.

In March, the day he left Houston, the FBI was watching and followed him to New Orleans, where they arrested him just 24 hours before the climax of HBO's documentary about Durst and the moment a hot mic caught him, some say, admitting to murder.

Durst who had come to Houston to avoid the spotlight, ended up finding himself in it more than ever before.

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