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Shocking Verdict in Durst Trial

This is a partial transcript from On the Record with Greta Van Susteren, November 11, 2003.

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(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DEBORAH WARREN, DURST TRIAL JUROR: When I came in, they told me that I was not here to find Durst guilty, as far as dismembering that body and bail jumping. What killed Morris Black was a bullet, per se, a bullet, a gunshot. And that's what I was here to find him guilty or not guilty of. We did the best with what we had. And whether it agreed to you all or to anyone else out there in America, this is what we came up with.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, HOST: That was a juror from the Robert Durst (search) trial in Texas. The not guilty verdict stunned many. Were Durst's lawyers surprised? Robert Durst's lawyers, Dick Deguerin and Mike Ramsey, join us from outside the courthouse in Galveston, Texas.

Welcome to both of you.

DICK DEGUERIN, DURST DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Hi, Greta.

VAN SUSTEREN: Dick, your client took the witness stand. What did he say that he did?

DEGUERIN: Well, it was pretty simple, actually. What happened when Morris Black died was, Bob came to his apartment, found him there. He shouldn't have been there, knew that he probably had the gun. But he went to where the gun was hidden and it wasn't there. He yelled at Morris. Morris pointed the gun at him, and they ended up in a struggle, a violent struggle. Didn't take very long. And as they fell to the ground, Morris died because the gun went off. It was an accidental shooting.

Now, that was the simple part of the case. The difficult part of the case is what came after that. We recognized that from the very beginning.

VAN SUSTEREN: And by that, what did your client say that he did? I mean, some pretty gruesome details.

DEGUERIN: Well, I just told you what he said he did. He came home and found him with a gun.

VAN SUSTEREN: Did he admit to dismembering him and getting rid of the body? Did he say that on the witness stand?

DEGUERIN: Yes. Yes, he did.

VAN SUSTEREN: Mike, how do you describe your client?

MIKE RAMSEY, DURST DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I think that he is a bright fellow. He suffers from a mild form of autism, the same thing I'm told that Bill Gates has. Bill Gates is apparently a pretty smart fellow. But Bob had been a druggie probably for 30 or 40 years. He was in a confused state. He's been probably not living the life he should have lived. Since he's been in jail, he's straightened up a great deal.

VAN SUSTEREN: Mike, a lot of people are stunned by the verdict. I mean, people who did not sit through the trial but they just sort of hear the headlines, a man admits to shooting someone in the head, dismembers him, gets rid of the body, and now he's found not guilty. How do you explain to the people listening that verdict?

RAMSEY: I think it's easy. We focused the jury on what caused the death -- that is, that Morris Black and Bob got into a struggle over a gun and Morris died. Bob could have died as easily in that struggle as Morris did. And we inoculated the jury on purpose. We chose to try the case with an open choke, to let all the evidence in, to not resist any of it, to admit those things that Bob was guilty of, and then ask the jury to focus themselves on whether or not there was an accident. I think that was the proper tactic.

DEGUERIN: Well, you got to remember that the headlines don't tell the story. The headlines are there to sell newspapers and they're sensational. What these jurors heard were the facts. The jurors heard every fact that the judge thought was relevant from either side. And they made the right situation. There was not enough evidence to prove that Bob Durst intentionally and knowingly pulled the trigger on the gun that killed Morris Black.

RAMSEY: I don't think the people that actually sat through the trial...

VAN SUSTEREN: Dick, how did your client get picked up...

DEGUERIN: Picked up? You mean in Pennsylvania?

VAN SUSTEREN: No. I mean, how did they even connect your client to this crime?

DEGUERIN: He did such a poor job of cleaning up after everything was over that he put his address in one of the bags that went in the bay with body parts. He put the gun in the trashcan, where it was found, along with his name and address and a doctor's appointment book or appointment sheet for him. I mean, there were clues everywhere.

VAN SUSTEREN: Mike, in the last 20 seconds we have left, give me an idea. How many days of testimony did the jurors listen to?

RAMSEY: Oh, they listened to at least six weeks of testimony. And they heard a compelling story. After we got past the sensational aspects of the case, they focused. The jury system works pretty damn well.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, Dick, Mike, thank you very much. Dick, nice to see you.

DEGUERIN: Good to see you again, Greta.

RAMSEY: My pleasure.

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