The first-degree murder of Susan Berman was found Friday by the 78-year old New York real estate heir. He was long suspected, but not charged, in the 1982 disappearance of his wife.
Outside the Inglewood Courthouse, John Lewin, Deputy District Attorney, stated that Bob Durst "has been around for a lot years and he has been able to perpetrate a lot more horrific crimes." He got a lot more life after all he did.
Durst is frail and sick. He sat in a wheelchair throughout the trial and was absent when the verdict was read. Because he was exposed by coronavirus to another person, Durst was kept in isolation at jail. This was an unusual twist on the final day of the jury's trial.
After only two days of testimony, the trial was suspended in March 2020 due to the global pandemic. The case was resumed in May after a 14-month hiatus, which is possibly the longest in American legal systems.
Durst will be sentenced to a life term in prison for violating the terms of his parole agreement.
Durst was found to have attacked Berman and shot her to death because she was a witness in a crime. Prosecutors claimed that Durst was responsible for the murder of Kathie Durst. This has never been proven. Berman was shot in the back of her head at point-blank range by Durst in her Los Angeles home on December 2000.
Durst lost his longtime confidante, Berman, who was the daughter of Las Vegas mobsters. She was ready to lie to police that she had provided a fake alibi after his wife disappeared.
Prosecutors painted an image of a wealthy narcissist, who did not believe the laws applied to his case and who ruthlessly dealt with anyone who tried to stop him. They interlaced evidence about Berman's murder, Kathie Durst disappearance, and the 2001 killing Morris Black, a tenant at a Texas flophouse, where Robert Durst was on the run from New York police.
Lewin stated that he killed his wife, then continued to kill to cover it up.
Lewin met with jurors following the verdict and stated that they believed Durst had killed Kathie Durst, and also murdered Berman, Black, and other people.
Attorney David Chesnoff stated that the defense claimed they believed there was "substantial unreasonable doubt" and were disappointed by the verdict. Durst will pursue all appeals, he said.
Durst was the only one to blame in a series of investigations that began after Durst rejected lawyers' advice and refused to allow anyone he knew to take part in an incriminating documentary on his seemingly bad luck with having close friends disappear or be knocked out.
Durst was hiding in a New Orleans hotel just before the final episode of "The Jinx: The Live and Deaths of Robert Durst" was to air. Durst was then confronted by incriminating evidence and forced to confess, according to prosecutors.
Durst could been heard murmuring to himself through a microphone in a bathroom. You have been caught.
Lewin gave credit to Marc Smerling and Andrew Jarecki for getting the case moving.
Lewin stated that without them conducting the interviews, we wouldn't have reached where we are today. "That was the starting place, there is no doubt."
Durst's decision not to testify in his defense, hoping to be a repeat of his Texas killing acquittal, backfired. He was forced to lie under oath and made damning admissions. His credibility was destroyed by Lewin who questioned him for nine days.
Lewin stated that he was not aware of any defendant who has perjured so many times about so many different topics in so little time. It was shocking.
Since his wife's disappearance, Durst's story has been a hot topic in New York tabloids. He is the estranged son of a New York real-estate developer. Hollywood could not resist making a feature about Durst's life. This eventually led to the discovery of new evidence and the creation of a documentary.
Later, he joked that he was "the most fugitive person the world has ever seen."
Durst was not subject to close examination by investigators after his wife disappeared. His troubles returned in 2000, when New York authorities reopened his case. Durst's lawyer advised him that he was ready to face charges in the case.
He fled his life of luxury to Galveston Texas where he rented an apartment as "Dorothy Ciner," which he claimed he couldn't understand. After mishaps, including lighting a cigarette while intoxicated at a bar and igniting his hair, he eventually gave up the disguise.
Durst testified that he went to LA just before Christmas to visit Berman and planned to visit some tourist sites. When he arrived, he found Berman's body on the bedroom floor.
Berman was a writer and friend of Durst. She had financial difficulties at the time. Durst had gifted Berman $50,000. Prosecutors suggested that she was trying to get more money from him.
Nine months after her death, Durst killed Black. Durst claimed that he returned home to find Black, a close friend, sitting in his apartment with Durst's pistol of.22 caliber.
Durst was cleared after testifying that the 71 year-old was shot in the head while trying to steal the gun. Durst then ripped up Black's body, and tossed it out at sea. Durst was found guilty of destroying evidence to dispose of the body parts.
Durst declared that he was a pariah after the trial and the horrifying evidence of the dismemberment. He was denied admission by several condominium associations. Durst also stated that the Los Angeles County Museum of Art would not accept his anonymous donations.
Durst believed Jarecki's 2010 film "All Good Things", which was based on his own life, had been accurate. It starred Ryan Gosling and Kirsten Dunst, and portrays a sympathetic portrait of him, even though he is implicated in three murders. He objected only to the fact that he was shown killing his dog, something he would never do.
He reached out and offered to sit down for long interviews as part of a documentary. He encouraged his friends and allowed the filmmakers to access boxes of his records.
After "The Jinx" was aired by HBO in 2015, he regretted his decision and called it a "very very, very, very big error."
Filmmakers discovered crucial evidence linking Berman to an anonymous note that directed police to Berman's body.
Durst was so certain that he couldn’t be linked to the note, he told filmmakers that "only the killer could've written" the note.
He couldn't tell the difference when confronted by filmmakers with a letter Berman had sent a year ago -- in identical handwriting and with Beverly Hills misspelled as Beverly Hills on both --
Durst was able to step off the camera and murmur to himself in the bathroom on a live microphone: "Killed all of them, of course!"
Durst testified for 14 days that Berman and his wife were killed. Judge Mark Windham called it "devastating" but he claimed he wouldn't lie if he did.
He had to confess for the first times that he had written the note, and had been in LA at the time Berman died.
Lewin stated that jurors told Lewin they didn't believe Durst’s explanations for his note or the confession made in an unguarded moment.
Durst claimed that the hot mic didn’t capture his full thought. He said: "They’ll all think they killed me all, of course."
Lewin stated that this is exactly what the jury came to a conclusion.