October 18, 2021
Susan Berman and Robert Durst

Robert Durst sentenced to life in prison for murdering Susan Berman to cover up wife’s disappearance

Robert Durst, the eccentric actual property scion millionaire, has been sentenced to life in prison with out the potential for parole in the 2000 execution-style killing of his greatest buddy, Susan Berman.

Final month, the 78-year-old Durst was discovered responsible of first-degree homicide, greater than 20 years after Berman was discovered lifeless inside her Beverly Hills residence.

Prosecutors mentioned Durst, now 78, killed Berman, a author whose father was a Las Vegas mob boss, as a result of she knew an excessive amount of in regards to the disappearance of his first spouse Kathleen, who was final seen alive on January 31, 1982.

Prosecutors alleged Berman was not Durst’s solely sufferer, saying he killed each Kathleen and Morris Black, his then-neighbor in Galveston, Texas. Durst was acquitted of Black’s homicide when he claimed self-defense, saying Black pointed a gun at him and that Black was killed throughout a wrestle for the weapon.

Susan Berman and Robert Durst | Credit score: HBO

“When Bob Durst killed Kathie, he killed Susan and Morris as well because once that happened, once he did that, there was no turning back,” Los Angeles County Deputy District Lawyer John Lewin informed jurors throughout the first week of trial.

“Bob Durst is a person who is going to protect and take care of Bob Durst.”

Over 100 folks testified throughout the trial, together with Durst’s estranged brother, Douglas; HBO’s The Jinx filmmakers Marc Smerling and Andrew Jarecki; and comic Laraine Newman, a buddy of Berman’s.

Durst additionally testified from a wheelchair and spent 15 days on the stand.

Berman’s physique was discovered in the bed room of her Beverly Hills residence round midday on Dec. 24, 2000, after a neighbor reported her canine had been free. She had been fatally shot in the again of the pinnacle. Officers decided there was no compelled entry or signal of ransacking or a wrestle. Her purse, along with her ID and her money inside, was sitting on the kitchen counter.

Throughout opening statements, Lewin mentioned Berman knew her killer and let him inside. Berman, Lewin mentioned, was a “paranoid New Yorker” who would have by no means opened her door to a stranger.

“She was murdered by someone she truly trusted,” mentioned Lewin.

Kathy and Robert Durst | Credit score: HBO

For many years, Durst denied he was ever in Los Angeles across the time of Berman’s slaying. However later, his legal professional, Dick DeGuerin, admitted that he was in Los Angeles and had plans to spend the vacations with Berman when he discovered her lifeless.

“When Bob showed up and found her dead he panicked,” DeGuerin mentioned. “He wrote the anonymous [cadaver] letter so her body would be found, and he ran. He ran away all of his life.”

DeGuerin mentioned Durst denied killing Berman. 

RELATED: Robert Durst Claims He Was High on Meth During Some Interviews for HBO’s The Jinx

Durst’s trial, which started in March 2020, was postponed throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and resumed once more in Might 2021. There was a quick pause in the trial in June due to Durst’s ongoing well being points. His legal professionals requested the decide for a mistrial due to his medical situation however the decide denied the request.

First wife’s household: ‘She was murdered by Robert Durst’

Kathleen’s household reacted to Durst’s conviction final month in an announcement obtained by PEOPLE: “Not a single day goes by that we do not think about our beautiful, smart, and kind sister, Kathleen. Today, more than ever before, it is clear that she was murdered by Robert Durst in Westchester County, New York on January 31, 1982. The evidence is overwhelming.

“Though Durst has now been rightly convicted of killing Susan Berman, who helped him conceal the reality about Kathie’s dying, the McCormack household remains to be ready for justice. Kathie remains to be ready for justice.

“The justice system in Los Angeles has finally served the Berman family. It is now time for Westchester to do the same for the McCormack family and charge Durst for the murder of his wife, Kathie, which occurred almost forty years ago.

“They’ve had interviews, statements, and paperwork for months. The closing arguments by the Los Angeles Deputy District Attorneys ought to take away any doubt. It is weird and unacceptable that Durst was tried for killing an confederate earlier than being held accountable for Kathie’s homicide.”

Robert Durst | Credit score: ETIENNE LAURENT/EPA/Shutterstock

The Westchester County District Lawyer reopened the disappearance case of Kathie in Might.

Kathleen’s household had wished to be current in the courtroom for Durst’s sentencing to deal with him, however their request was denied.

Robert Abrams, the legal professional for her siblings, informed PEOPLE prior to the sentencing, “My clients wanted to come here and they wanted to confront Durst. The whole case was about Kathie and it is pretty disgusting that they don’t get a chance to confront Durst.”

Abrams added, “There is absolutely no justice for Kathie’s family. He has never been charged or convicted for the murder or disposal of her body. Until he is held accountable in New York this case will continue.”