TRUE CRIMES returns LIVE Saturday, January 10th with special guest Cathy Scott!Listen 2pm PST by clicking this link!
Cathy Scott is the author of the Los Angeles Times'
best-seller The Killing of Tupac Shakur, as well as The Murder of Biggie Smalls, Death
in the Desert: The Ted Binion Homicide Case, and Seraphim Rose: The True
Story and Private Letters. Her latest true-crime book is Death of a Mafia
Daughter: The Life and Tragic Death of Susan Berman.
The Las Vegas Review Journal had this to say about Scott's latest book:
COLUMN: John L. Smith
Killer of mafia daughter probably
won't get justice, mob or otherwise
Susan Berman's killer might never be tried for her
December 2000 murder, and that's a shame.
Robert Durst, the man suspected of shooting the former Las
Vegas casino princess in the head, faces a full slate of felonies associated
with two other homicides, including the death of his wife, Kathleen Durst, and
the grisly death of 71-year-old Morris Black. Durst's murder trial was set to
start this week in Galveston, Texas, but now faces more delays.
This side of a day of reckoning in court, those seeking
justice for Berman have Las Vegas author Cathy Scott's "Murder of a Mafia
Daughter: The Life and Tragic Death of Susan Berman," which nails Durst for the
crime. With California authorities monitoring the Texas case, and New York
authorities next in line, it's questionable whether they'll push hard to
prosecute a man already on his way to life without.
That's where Scott comes in.
Scott, whose book on the murder of Tupac Shakur named the
trigger man before some media clued in, attempts to render a sympathetic
portrait of Berman. It isn't easy. Berman was talented, but she was eccentric
and often took advantage of friends.
Berman came from what once passed for Vegas royalty. She
grew up the daughter of green-felt privilege, and as a kid had the run of the
house at the Flamingo.
She also idolized her father, a charming thug. Davie Berman
had done penitentiary time and was a suspect in more than one murder before
making the move west in the wake of Benny Siegel. Berman maintained his
organized crime contacts beneath a facade of legitimacy common in that day.
Although Davie Berman died of a heart attack in 1957 when
his daughter was 12, Susan Berman kept his spirit alive in her writing all her
life. She lived off the mafia princess image, produced the poignant best-selling
memoir "Easy Street," and parlayed her felonious family tree into a successful
free-lance writing career.
Although Berman's paychecks ebbed, a lack of cash flow
didn't prevent her from living in high style. She borrowed money from friends
and admirers until both became neither. One of those intimates was Bobby Durst,
whom she acknowledged in "Easy Street" as one of her "very special supportive
Scott's book makes it clear Berman borrowed from the
increasingly desperate Durst even as a New York district attorney's office crept
closer to solving Kathleen Durst's disappearance. The so-called loans resembled
extortion. Not long before she was slain, Berman received from Durst three
checks totalling $100,000.
Durst, Scott contends, was hiding a dark secret that in a
weak moment he had shared with Berman. That secret, which police believe was the
admission that Durst had killed his wife, became Susan's ace in the hole.
In that regard, she was as calculating as her wiseguy
"I think Susan knew too much," Scott says. "From everything
I can tell from talking to her friends, Susan couldn't help herself. She talked
too much. Durst was worried about the investigation and what Susan might say
about the investigation. She was in the way."
The Berman described by Scott was a skilled writer and
journalist with a penchant for landing the big story. But, overall, the portrait
isn't flattering. She was a former rich kid who lived off a trust fund, then
sponged off friends when the easy money ran out. She won big jobs, but couldn't
And she never really got over being Davie Berman's Little
The question now is, will someone pay for her murder?
Although Durst has an alibi, Scott's interview with
attorney Dick DeGuerin revealed something she finds compelling: the admission
that Durst was in California at the time of the slaying. Berman's medallion was
in Durst's possession when he was arrested.
"All the evidence points to him," Scott says. "People would
get mad at her and just walk away from her, but Bobby was worried about what she
might be telling people."
Durst is a long way from trial in the Berman slaying, but
Scott hounds him with the facts.
It might be his only conviction for the crime.
Scott is a member of the Authors Guild and the Society
of Professional Journalists' national Speakers Bureau. She also serves as
the Nevada chairwoman of the Society of Professional Journalist’s Sunshine
Committee which works to keep government records open to the public.
She’s also a freelance reporter and stringer for The
New York Times and Reuters news service. Her work has appeared in George
magazine, The Christian Science Monitor, Los Angeles Times, New York Post,
New York Times Magazine, The San Diego Union-Tribune, Las Vegas Sun, AmericaOnline and APBNews.com. Until she went to New Orleans to cover the
largest natural disaster in history, she taught journalism at the
University of Nevada, Las Vegas. She left that position to report on the
rescue of animals for Best Friends.
She has appeared on Unsolved Mysteries, CourtTV, CNN,
BET, VH1, MTV, Uncovered TV, CBS 2’s Morning Show, Talk Books, National
Public Radio, and "Backstage Live" with Gary and Connie."
Her work has taken her to Somalia, Saudi
Arabia and Panama. A native San Diegan, she has one son and
two grandchildren She lives in Las Vegas.