“I did not kill Susan Berman,” real estate heir Robert Durst told a Los Angeles court on Monday, pleading not guilty in the 2000 killing of his one-time confidante.
Durst wore a neck brace as he entered the courtroom in a wheelchair. “I do want to say here and now, I am not guilty,” he said in a hoarse voice.
Prosecutors will not be seeking the death penalty in the case. Durst, who will be held without bail in the custody of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, will next appear in court on Feb. 15.
Durst, 73, who pled guilty to unrelated gun charges this February in New Orleans and was sentenced to 85 months in federal prison under a plea deal, was extradited to L.A. in August. He was arrested in March for the December 2000 murder of Berman, his friend and former spokeswoman. Berman was shot execution-style in her L.A. home as New York authorities were preparing to interview her after reopening their investigation into Durst’s wife’s disappearance.
Durst was jailed on March 14 — a day before the shocking finale of “The Jinx,” featuring an audio recording in which he’s heard muttering “What the hell did I do? Killed them all, of course” into a hot mic. The docu-series detailed the disappearance of Durst’s first wife, Kathleen, in 1982; Berman’s murder; and the killing of one of Durst’s neighbors.
Durst has been linked to several deaths over the last 34 years, including that of his ex-wife. He admitted to killing his neighbor, Morris Black, in self-defense, and was acquitted of murder in 2003. Durst, however, has maintained his innocence in Berman and his wife’s deaths.
Lifetime is developing a movie revolving around Durst, who also served as the inspiration for “All Good Things,” Andrew Jarecki’s 2010 thriller starring Ryan Gosling.