Readers like you keep news free for everyone.

More than 5,000 readers have already pitched in to keep free access to The Journal.

For the price of one cup of coffee each week you can help keep paywalls away.

Support us today
Not now
Advertisement

New York millionaire Robert Durst guilty of best friend’s murder

The 78-year-old Durst will appeal against the conviction, which carries a mandatory life sentence.

Image: Alamy Stock Photo

A LOS ANGELES jury has convicted millionaire Robert Durst of murdering his best friend 20 years ago in a case that seized the attention of the public.

The New York real estate heir, who faces a mandatory life term without parole when sentenced on 18 October, was convicted of the first-degree murder of Susan Berman.

She was shot at point-blank range in the back of the head in her Los Angeles home in December 2000 as she prepared to tell police how she helped cover up the killing of Durst’s wife.

Berman, the daughter of a Las Vegas mobster, was Durst’s long-time confidante who told friends she provided a false alibi for him after his wife vanished.

Durst, 78, was not in court for the verdict from the jury that deliberated for some seven hours over three days. He was in isolation in prison after being exposed to a person with coronavirus.

Prosecutors painted a portrait of a rich narcissist who did not think the laws applied to him and ruthlessly disposed of people who stood in his way.

They interlaced evidence of Berman’s killing with Kathie Durst’s suspected death in 1982 and the 2001 killing of a tenant in a Texas flophouse where Robert Durst holed up while on the run from New York authorities.

The saga took on new life after the New York real estate heir participated in a documentary that connected him to Berman’s killing.

Making a difference

A mix of advertising and supporting contributions helps keep paywalls away from valuable information like this article.

Over 5,000 readers like you have already stepped up and support us with a monthly payment or a once-off donation.

For the price of one cup of coffee each week you can make sure we can keep reliable, meaningful news open to everyone regardless of their ability to pay.

Durst was arrested in 2015 while hiding out in a New Orleans hotel on the eve of the airing of the final episode of “The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst”, in which he was confronted with incriminating evidence and made what prosecutors said was a confession.

Durst could be heard muttering to himself on a live microphone in a bathroom: “There it is. You’re caught.”

Durst’s decision to testify in his own defence — hoping for a repeat of his acquittal in the Texas killing — backfired as he was forced to admit lying under oath, made damning admissions and had his credibility destroyed when questioned by the prosecutor.

Defence lawyer David Chesnoff said Friday they believed there was “substantial reasonable doubt” and were disappointed in the verdict. He said Durst would pursue all avenues of appeal.

About the author:

Press Association

Read next:

COMMENTS (14)

This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
write a comment

    Leave a commentcancel