Real estate heir Robert Durst found guilty of murdering best friend | News | DW | 17.09.2021

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Real estate heir Robert Durst found guilty of murdering best friend

A California jury found Durst guilty of killing Susan Berman in 2000, but prosecutors believe he killed another two people. The trial comes years after Durst appeared to confess to the murders in an HBO documentary.

Robert Durst wears a mask while sitting in court in California

Durst is also suspected of killing his wife and one of his neighbors — although he was only on trial for the murder of his best friend

New York real estate heir Robert Durst was found guilty of first degree murder on Friday by a jury in Los Angeles.

The multimillionaire was accused of shooting and killing his best friend, Susan Berman, at her home in Los Angeles in 2000.

Durst is also suspected of two other murders that have taken place over the past 39 years — including his wife and a former neighbor.

He now faces life in prison without parole, with the sentencing hearing scheduled for October 18.

What is Durst accused of?

Prosecutors described Durst as a wealthy and "narcissistic psychopath."

They argued that he killed Berman, who was shot in the head at point-blank range, in an effort to cover up the disappearance of his wife.

Kathleen McCormack Durst, a medical student, went missing in New York in 1982. 

Prosecutors said that Berman helped cover for Durst by providing a false alibi, with Durst later deciding to kill his friend in 2000 after she told others she helped cover up the crime.

During the trial, prosecutors also connected Durst to the 2001 killing of Morris Black, who was his neighbor in Galveston, Texas.

Durst had been acquitted of murder in that case, despite admitting to dismembering Black and dumping his remains. He'd argued that Black was accidentally shot during a scuffle in Durst's apartment.

The 78-year-old, who uses a wheelchair and was described by his defense lawyers as a "sick old man," was not present in court on Friday as he had been exposed to someone with COVID-19.

Infamous case

Durst was the subject of the 2015 HBO documentary series "The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst." In the final episode of the series, Durst is heard telling himself "Killed them all, of course..." on a microphone that he did not realize was still on.

He was arrested at a New Orleans hotel in 2015 just hours before the final episode aired.

An estranged member of a powerful and wealthy New York real estate dynasty, Durst ran from authorities several times.

He'd disguised himself as a mute woman for a time when he lived in Texas, and was found with a latex mask to use for a getaway when he was arrested in New Orleans.

rs/ar (AP, AFP, Reuters)

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