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UPDATED 10/14/21, 7:02 p.m. ET: Robert Durst has been sentenced to life in prison, The New York Times reports. The defense made a motion for a new trial, based on the fact that there’s “insufficient evidence to support the conviction beyond a reasonable doubt, and the verdict was contrary to the evidence and the law,” per Deadline.
See original story below.
After many decades of evading criminal conviction, Robert Durst has been found guilty of first-degree murder.
The verdict was announced in Los Angeles court on Friday, more than 20 years after the real estate heir allegedly killed his good friend Susan Berman. Durst is accused of fatally shooting the crime writer at her Beverly Hills home on Dec. 23, 2020. Prosecutors allege the millionaire killed Berman after learning she had plans to speak to authorities about the 1982 disappearance of his wife, Kathleen McCormack Durst. Berman allegedly told friends she provided a fake alibi for Durst after his wife went missing in New York, suggesting she was part of a murder coverup.
Kathleen McCormack Durst’s body has never been found, and was declared legally dead in several years ago at her family’s request. No one has been charged in connection to her disappearance.
The murder allegations were reignited in 2015, following the premiere The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst. While filming the six-part docuseries, Durst made a number of damaging admissions. At one point during a sit-down, Durst excused himself to the restroom, seemingly unaware that his mic was still on.
According to a transcript published by the New York Times, Durst was heard making the following comments:
“[Unintelligible] I don’t know what you expected to get. I don’t know what’s in the house. Oh, I want this. Killed them all, of course. [Unintelligible] I want to do something new. There’s nothing new about that. [Inaudible – possibly “disaster.”] He was right. I was wrong. The burping. I’m having difficulty with the question. What the hell did I do?”
The “Killed them all” portion was featured in the series, and was widely considered a confession. Durst was arrested a day before The Jinx finale, and later admitted it was “very, very, very, big mistake” to participate in the HBO series.
According to the Washington Post, Durst’s murder trial began in March 2020, but was halted until May of this year due to the pandemic. The 78-year-old is now facing a mandatory life sentence without parole. His sentencing hearing is scheduled for Oct. 18.