Robert Durst, subject of HBO’s true-crime miniseries The Jinx, is convicted of murdering his friend Susan Berman in her home in 2000.
Robert Durst, subject of the 2015 HBO true-crime documentary series The Jinx, has been found guilty of murdering his close friend Susan Berman 20 years ago. Durst is the heir to an $8 billion real estate empire who first garnered public suspicion following the mysterious disappearance of his wife Kathleen McCormack Durst in 1982. In 2000 and 2001, Durst was linked to but not convicted of the deaths of Berman and a drifter named Morris Black. In The Jinx, director and producer Andrew Jarecki investigates Durst’s story via a series of interviews with Durst that culminate in an accidental hot mic confession.
The New York Times reports that Durst has been convicted of the first-degree murder of Susan Berman in 2000 in Benedict Canyon, California. Robert Durst will be sentenced in October and faces life in prison without parole. Berman, a writer and Durst’s longtime friend, was previously determined to have been shot execution-style in her home. The prosecution asserted that Berman had assisted Durst in concealing the circumstances of Kathleen’s disappearance. According to the jury, Durst was “lying in wait” for Berman, thus “killing a witness” in order to conceal her inside knowledge about his wife’s case. Witness Nick Chavin testified that Durst said of Berman, “It was her or me. I had no choice.” Jarecki gave a statement to The Wrap supporting the verdict. His full comments are below:
When we started investigating this story sixteen years ago, we had no idea we would discover evidence that would lead to this prosecution. Bob Durst had been suspected of three murders but never held accountable. In 2010 I interviewed him for over 20 hours for The Jinx and he said many incriminating things. When we dug further into the story and found evidence that tied him to the murder of his best friend Susan Berman, we searched for a prosecutor we felt could handle this kind of complex case and found John Lewin, a cold case expert in the LA district attorney’s office and his team. We agreed to share the evidence with them, and today’s verdict is the result of that effort. Over these years we got to know the families of the victims, including of Durst’s missing wife Kathie McCormack. They are good, honest people who have suffered for 40 years and we are happy to see them get some justice today as Kathie’s murder will now likely also be prosecuted. We applaud the efforts of John Lewin, Habib Balian, Eugene Miata, Ethan Milius and the LA district attorney’s office.
The verdict comes after a lengthy, unusual trial that started in March 2020 and adjourned for over a year due to the simultaneous spread of coronavirus. Durst was absent from court during the reading of the verdict on account of exposure to COVID-19. As of this trial, Durst has only been found guilty of Berman’s murder. In 2003, Durst was tried for and acquitted of Black’s murder due to a lack of forensic evidence. Kathleen Durst’s disappearance remains unsolved but was reclassified as a murder case this past May and will be reinvestigated.
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Source: The New York Times, The Wrap
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