The California jury ruled that Robert Durst, the multimillionaire real estate heir, murdered his old friend Susan Berman in 2000. This is the past 39 years, a suspect in three years. The man who killed three people in two states was convicted for the first time.
Durst, 78 years old, is frail and is likely to die in prison because the jury also found him guilty on Friday. He was sentenced to life imprisonment under the special circumstances of waiting and killing a witness. High Court judge Mark Wyndham, who oversaw the trial, set the sentencing hearing on October 18.
The trial took place six years after Durst’s obvious plea was aired in the HBO TV documentary series “Jinks”, in which Durst was caught by a hot microphone in the toilet and he said to himself: “I What did you do?…Of course, kill them all.”
A three-person jury of nine women deliberated on Friday’s decision for seven and a half hours over three days. Durst, who had been in prison during the trial, did not attend to read the verdict because he was in isolation after contacting COVID-19 patients.
Wyndham decided to read the verdict in Durst’s absence. Later, when talking with the lawyers of both parties, he called the case “the most unusual trial I have ever seen or even heard of.”
John Lewin, the chief prosecutor who has been pursuing Durst for years, praised the filmmakers Andrew Jarecki and Marc Smerling of “Jinx” for their comments on Dess. Durst’s public interview and told reporters after the verdict: “If we hadn’t interviewed them, we wouldn’t have where we are now.”
In the closing statement, Lewin called Durst a “narcissistic psychopath” and he killed Berman in an attempt to cover up the disappearance of his wife Kathleen McCormack Durst in New York in 1982.
Durst was only tried for the murder of Berman in California, but the prosecutor argued that he had murdered three people: his missing wife Berman and a neighbor in Texas. When Durst evaded the law, he found out. His identity.
Although he has long been a suspect in the disappearance of his 29-year-old medical student’s wife, Durst has never been charged. The prosecutor said he killed her and then decided to kill Berman 18 years later because she told others that she helped Dest cover up the crime. The 55-year-old Berman was shot in the back of his home in Beverly Hills.
Soon after the verdict, the McCormack family issued a statement urging the prosecutor in Westchester County, New York to sue Durst.
“The justice system in Los Angeles finally serves the Bermans. Now is the time for Westchester to do the same for the McCormack family,” the statement said.
Westchester County District Attorney Mimi Rocah reopened the case in May shortly after taking office.
Her office issued a statement on Friday praising those involved in securing the convictions, but a spokesperson said that the Westchester investigation “is still ongoing and we will not comment further at this time.”
“Sick Old Man”
Defense lawyers described Durst as a “sick old man”, a cancer survivor, wearing loose prison uniforms in a wheelchair to testify. But he endured as a witness for 15 days, of which 9 days he was cross-examined.
In the 58-day trial that lasted for one and a half years, including a one-year delay due to the coronavirus pandemic, Durst testified that he found her murdered body when he went to visit Berman, but did not call the police.
The prosecution also studied the death and dismemberment of Morris Black in 2001, Dest’s neighbor in Galveston, Texas. The Galveston jury declared Durst not guilty, although Durst admitted that he chopped off Black’s body and dumped it in Galveston Bay.
Durst said that Black pointed a gun at him and was accidentally shot when the two wrestled on the gun.
According to his testimony, Black’s death marked the second time Durst put a corpse at his feet.
In both cases, Durst said that he initially tried to call the 911 emergency number, but later decided not to do so because he was worried that no one would believe that he was not guilty.
In addition to The Jinx audio, two other pieces of evidence appear to have compromised Durst’s defense. One of them is the testimony of Nick Chavin recorded in 2017. Nick Chavin is a mutual friend. He said that Durst admitted to him in 2014 that he killed Berman.
“It’s her or me. I have no choice,” Chavin recalled what Durst told him.
Durst also admitted that he wrote a handwritten letter to the Beverly Hills police with “corpse” and Berman’s address, leading them to her undiscovered body. Durst denied that he had written notes for 20 years.
Durst is the grandson of the founder of Durst Organization, one of New York City’s premier real estate companies.
He left the company long ago and is now run by his estranged brother Douglas Durst, who testified at trial and spoke of his brothers and sisters: “He wants to murder me.”