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Robert Durst: eccentric figure made infamous in “The Jinx” should be sentenced for first degree murder

Durst, 78, was convicted by a jury on September 17 of shooting her best friend Susan Berman in 2000 at her Beverly Hills home, hours before she was ready to speak to investigators about the mystery. disappearance of his first wife, Kathleen McCormack Durst, who was last seen in 1982.

Eccentric heir to a New York real estate empire, Durst testified during his months-long trial and denied killing McCormack Durst and Berman. He said he found Berman on the floor of his bedroom with a fatal gunshot to the back of the head.

But during cross-examination, Durst said he would perjure himself if he killed them. Questions from prosecutors also prompted Durst to admit that he had perjured himself five times during the trial.

In addition, a longtime friend of Durst and Berman, Nick Chavin, testified that the accused told him: “It was her or me”, referring to Berman. “I had no choice.”

“These nine words sum up the whole case,” prosecutor Habib Balian said during oral argument.

As part of their verdict, jurors agreed that the crime met “special circumstances” under California law, which allows Durst to be sentenced to life without parole, for the murder of a witness to a crime. , on the lookout and using a gun in the murder. California has a moratorium on the death penalty.

Durst’s health has deteriorated considerably in recent years. He has bladder cancer and has had several surgeries, including inserting a shunt into his head to relieve pressure on his brain.

He was in quarantine for coronavirus in prison when the jury announced the guilty verdicts, his lawyer said.

The conviction comes years after Durst’s infamous role in the 2015 HBO documentary “The Jinx.” In the show’s closing moments, Durst went into the bathroom, apparently not realizing his mic was still on, and made a series of comments that appeared to be a confession.

“This is it. You’re caught,” he said in a series of seemingly unrelated sentences. ” He was right. I was wrong.

” What did I do ? I killed them all, of course, ”he said.

However, transcripts of the audio recording in court revealed that the quotes had been pasted and edited to be in a different order and context, The New York Times reported. Durst said he was “rich in methamphetamine” when recording the documentary.

McCormack Durst was declared legally dead in 2017. Her body has not been found and no one has been charged in the case.

Berman’s death is not the first in which Durst is on trial. In 2003, Durst told police he had killed and dismembered a neighbor in Galveston, Texas, two years earlier. He said he shot the man and cut him up in a panic. Prosecutors said he wanted to steal the man’s identity and escape the investigation into his wife’s disappearance.

Durst said the murder was in self-defense, that he panicked and decided to cut up Morris Black’s body and throw the pieces away. He was acquitted.

CNN’s Eric Levenson and Paul Vercammen contributed to this report.


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