(Reuters] – Robert Durst was convicted of killing Susan Berman 2000, and a California judge is likely to sentence him to mandatory life in prison on Thursday.
Durst is 78 years old and has been in poor health for the last four decades. He had been evading law enforcement since 1982, when his wife Kathleen McCormack Durst disappeared in New York.
Los Angeles County prosecutors claimed Berman killed him because she provided a false alibi in 1982 for Durst and he was afraid she would expose it to the authorities.
The 55-year-old Berman was shot in the back by the jury in Los Angeles County. A jury found him guilty in special circumstances, including lying in wait for and murdering a witness. These sentences carry a life sentence that cannot be commuted.
Mark Windham, Superior Court Judge, presided over this trial. He will now pronounce the sentence from his bench.
The trial took place six years after Durst’s confession to being sworn in was broadcast on HBO’s documentary “The Jinx.” Durst, who was recorded in the toilet saying something aloud: “What is the hell did you do?” The trial began in 2006. Durst’s confession was aired six years earlier on HBO television documentary series “The Jinx.” In which Durst was caught speaking to himself through a microphone while in the bathroom, saying: “What the hell did I do?” They all were killed of course.”
John Lewin, the leading prosecutor, had long pursued Durst. Marc Smerling and Andrew Jarecki were “The Jinx” film directors. Their revealing interviews helped build a case for Durst.
Durst was not on trial for murdering Berman in California. But prosecutors said he killed three people, including his missing wife Berman and Berman. A neighbor in Texas also claimed Durst’s identity, which he had hidden from law enforcement.
Durst, a 29 year-old student in medicine, was long suspected of being involved in the disappearance his wife. However, Durst wasn’t ever charged.
McCormack’s family has asked Westchester County authorities to bring Durst in court for her murder.
Mimi Rocah (Westchester County District Attorney) reopened her case in May after just a few months.
Durst was a cancer survivor and used a wheelchair to testify over the course of 15 days. Nine of those were under cross-examination. Although he claimed that he found Berman’s corpse while visiting her, he did not contact police.
Also, the prosecution probed Durst’s 2001 murder and dismemberment, which occurred in Galveston Texas. Galveston jurors acquit Durst, despite Durst admitting that he chopped Black’s body up and dumped it into Galveston Bay.
Durst claimed Black pulled out a gun and accidentally shot him when they wrestled with the firearm.
As with Berman and Black Durst, Durst said that he tried calling the 911 emergency number at first but then decided to abandon it. He was afraid no one would believe him.
Durst is the grandson of The Durst Organization’s founder, which is one of New York City’s most renowned real estate firms. The company has built some of Manhattan’s most iconic skyscrapers. He left it long ago.