New York multi-millionaire and property inheritor Robert Durst has been convicted of his finest good friend’s homicide in a case that has fascinated America for years following an notorious TV documentary.
A jury in Los Angeles reached the responsible verdict after a complete of simply seven hours of deliberation over three days.
They concluded that he shot his good friend Susan Berman in her Los Angeles house in December 2000.
Through the trial, prosecutors instructed the courtroom that he had killed Ms Berman to forestall her telling police what she knew concerning the disappearance and suspected killing of his spouse, Kathleen McCormack Durst, in New York in 1982.
Ms Berman instructed buddies she offered a phony alibi for Durst after his spouse vanished, the courtroom heard.
Attorneys instructed the jury that Durst was a “narcissistic psychopath” and argued that whereas he was solely on trial for one homicide, he was truly suspected of three.
Apart from Berman and his spouse, Durst is believed to have killed a neighbour in Texas whereas on the run. He had been discovered not responsible of that killing in 2001.
Durst, now aged 78, was the topic of an HBO documentary in 2015 referred to as The Jinx, by which he apparently confessed.
The New York actual property inheritor was arrested whereas hiding out in a New Orleans resort on the eve of the airing of the ultimate episode, by which he was confronted with incriminating proof and made what prosecutors mentioned was a confession.
He was caught on a stay microphone within the lavatory saying to himself: “What the hell did I do?.. Killed all of them, in fact.”
Durst, who missed courtroom resulting from contact with a optimistic coronavirus case, faces life in jail with out parole when he’s sentenced for first-degree homicide on 18 October.
He instructed the courtroom he visited Berman in LA simply earlier than Christmas in 2000. He mentioned he discovered her lifeless on a bed room flooring when he arrived and denied he was within the state on the time of her loss of life.
Berman, a author who had been buddies with Durst since they have been college students on the College of California, Los Angeles, had critical monetary issues on the time.
Durst, who’s value an estimated $100 million, had given her $50,000. Prosecutors advised she was attempting to leverage extra money from him by telling him she would reveal the reality about his spouse’s loss of life to the police.
He was accused of taking pictures her behind the top at point-blank vary.
The ruling is a victory for prosecutors who’ve struggled to efficiently convict Durst in three states.
After initially escaping suspicion over his spouse’s disappearance, consideration was as soon as once more turned on the case when New York authorities reopened it the identical yr as Ms Berman’s loss of life.
Fearing expenses, Durst fled to Galveston, Texas, the place he took on the persona of a mute lady named Dorothy Ciner.
Though, he ultimately dropped the disguise after mishaps that included strolling right into a males’s restroom and igniting his wig at a bar whereas lighting a cigarette.
It was throughout this time he was linked to the killing of his neighbour 71-year-old Morris Black. He was acquitted of the crime after claiming self-defence however did admit to dismembering the sufferer’s physique and tossing it out to sea.
He jumped bail whereas in Texas and was arrested after shoplifting a hen sandwich in Pennsylvania, regardless of having $37,000 in money – together with two handguns – in his rental automotive.
Durst additionally tried to cover from authorities by hiding at a New Orleans resort with a shoulders-to-head latex masks for a presumed getaway.
He later mentioned that he was “the worst fugitive the world has ever met”.
Whereas filming The Jinx, the filmmakers found a vital piece of proof that linked Durst to an nameless word despatched to police directing them to Ms Berman’s lifeless physique.
Filmmakers confronted him with a letter he despatched Ms Berman a yr earlier. The handwriting was an identical and Beverly Hills was misspelled as “Beverley” on each.
The gotcha second offered the climax of the film as Durst stepped off digital camera and muttered to himself on a stay microphone within the lavatory: “Killed all of them, in fact.”
Through the trial, Durst admitted that he despatched the word and had been in Los Angeles on the time of Ms Berman’s loss of life.
Defence lawyer David Chesnoff mentioned on Friday they believed there was “substantial affordable doubt” and have been dissatisfied within the verdict. He mentioned Durst would pursue all avenues of attraction.