Robert Durst, the New York real estate heir, was convicted on Friday of murdering his friend, Susan Berman, more than 20 years ago.
Durst, 78, was accused of murdering Berman to keep her from talking to authorities about the death of his first wife, Kathie, whose body has never been discovered.
Berman was found dead in her home in December 2000, after authorities were alerted by a letter to the presence of a “cadaver” at the address. Durst admitted in testimony at trial to writing the letter, but denied responsibility for Berman’s death.
The case was unsolved for many years, but was revived after the 2015 release of the HBO documentary “The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst.” The six-part series covered Durst’s connection to three deaths: Berman, Kathie McCormack Durst, and Morris Black. Durst was never charged in connection with his wife’s death, and was acquitted in the death of Black, though he admitted dismembering Black’s body.
“The Jinx” famously ended with Durst apparently confessing to the crimes, muttering while believing himself to be off-mic: “I killed them all, of course.” The filmmaker, Andrew Jarecki, had confronted Durst with evidence that he had written the “cadaver” note.
Durst was arrested in New Orleans the day before the final episode aired, and charged by Los Angeles prosecutors in Berman’s death. Berman was shot in the back of her head, as authorities were about to interview her in connection with Kathie Durst’s 1982 disappearance. Berman reportedly was prepared to tell police she had helped provide Durst an alibi in the disappearance.
The trial was suspended for 14 months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Jurors deliberated for three days before reaching the verdict, finding him guilty of first-degree murder. He faces life in prison without parole at sentencing on Oct. 18.
Durst was not in court for the verdict, as he is in isolation in jail due to a COVID exposure.