Robert Durst—Real Estate Heir, Failed Fugitive and Murderer—Dies at 78




( LOS ANGELES) — Robert Durst, the wealthy New York real estate heir and neglected fugitive dogged for decades with feeling in the departure and deaths of those around him before he was convicted last year of killing his best friend, just died. He was 78.

Durst died of natural motives Monday in a hospice outside the California prison where he was serving a life sentence, according to the ministry of Improvement and Rehabilitation. Durst had held during a hospice lockup in Stockton due to a litany of ailments.

Durst was convicted in September of shooting Susan Berman at point-blank range at her Los Angeles home in 2000. He was convicted Oct. 14 to life in prison without parole. [time-brightcove not-tgx =” true-life “]

Durst had long been suspected of killing his wife, Kathie, who went missing in New York 1982 and was declared legally dead decades later.

But merely after Los Angeles prosecutors proved he stillness Berman to prevent her from telling police she cured cover up Kathie’s killing was Durst indicted by a New York gloriou jury in November for second-degree murder in his wife’s death.

Westchester County lawyers, who had been trying to get Durst transmitted there to face the charge, said they planned to reveal new detailed information about the instance in coming days.

“After 40 years expended attempting justice for her extinction, I know how upsetting this news must be for Kathleen Durst’s family, ” District Attorney Miriam Rocah said in a statement. “We had hoped to allow them the opportunity to see Mr. Durst eventually face indicts for Kathleen’s murder because we know that all families never stop requiring close, justice and accountability.”

Los Angeles prosecutors told jurors Durst too is away with murder in Texas after shooting a somebody who discovered his identity when he was hiding out in Galveston in 2001. Durst was acquitted of murder in that case in 2003, after testifying he shot the three men as they contended for a gun.

Deputy District Attorney John Lewin said Los Angeles jurors told him after the verdict that they felt Durst had killed his wife and murdered Morris Black in Texas.

Durst’s undoing was in large portion due to his hubris.

After beating the charge in Texas, in a bid to rehabilitate his image, he contacted out to filmmakers who had showed “peoples lives” — not favorably — in the 2010 big screen facet, “All Good Things, ” starring Ryan Gosling as Durst. He offered to sit down for a series of lengthy interviews about his life.

It was a decision he told jurors he deeply regretted.

Durst, who later said he was using methamphetamine during the interviews, moved various damning testimonies including a stunning acknowledgment during an unguarded instant in the six-part HBO documentary streak “The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst.”

The show made his figure known to a new generation and brought rekindled investigation and distrust from authorities.

The night before the final occurrence aired, Durst was arrested in Berman’s killing while obscuring out under an alias in a New Orleans hotel, where he was caught with a artillery, more than $ 40,000 currency and a head-to-shoulders latex mask for a presumed getaway.

The finale’s climax came with him mumbling to himself in a shower while still wearing red-hot mic saying: “You’re caught! What the inferno did I do? Killed them all, of course.”

The quotes were later revealed to have been influenced for drastic upshot but the make — done against the advice of Durst’s lawyers and friends — dredged up brand-new testify including an envelope that connected him to the scene of Berman’s killing as well as incriminating evidences he made.

Police had received a note directing them to Berman’s home with simply the word “CADAVER” be drawn up in block letters.

In interviews held between 2010 and 2015, Durst told the makers of the “The Jinx” that he didn’t write the note, but whoever did had killed her.

“You’re writing a note to the police that only the killer could have written, ” Durst said.

His defense lawyers agreed in the run-up to trial that Durst had written the memorandum, and prosecutors said it amounted to a confession.

Clips from “The Jinx, ” and “All Good Things” had starring roles at trial.

As did Durst himself. He made the risk of again taking the stand for what turned out to be about three weeks of testament. It didn’t work as it had in Texas.

Under devastating cross-examination by prosecutor Lewin, Durst acknowledged he lied under curse in the past and would do it again to dodging trouble.

“’Did you kill Susan Berman? ’ is strictly a hypothetical, ” Durst said from the stand. “I did not kill Susan Berman. But if I had, I would lie about it.”

The jury instantly returned a guilty verdict.

It long showed he would avoid any convictions.

Durst went on the run in late 2000 after New York permissions reopened an investigation into his wife’s disappearance, renting a modest accommodation in Galveston and disguising himself as a soften woman.

In 2001, the body parts of a neighbor, Black, began bathing up in Galveston Bay.

Arrested in the killed, Durst hopped indemnity. He was caught shoplifting a sandwich six days later in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, where he had gone to college. Police procured $37,000 currency and two handguns in his car.

He later quipped that he was “the worst fugitive the world has ever met.”

He would testify that Black had attracted a firearm on him and died when the artillery set off during a struggle.

He told jurors in detail how he bought tools and downed a bottle of Jack Daniels before dismembering Black’s body and flinging it out to sea. While he was cleared of murder, he pleaded guilty to violate his bail, and to prove tampering for the dismemberment. He provided three years in prison.

Durst had bladder cancer and his health deteriorated during the Berman trial. He was escorted into courtroom in a wheelchair wearing prison garment every day because his attorneys said he was unable to change into a dres. But the adjudicator refused further delays after a 14 -month pause during the coronavirus pandemic.

At his sentencing, Durst entered the courtroom with a wide-eyed unoccupied gaze. Attorney Dick DeGuerin said he was “very, very sick” — the worst he searched in the 20 years he spent representing him.

Near the end of the hearing after Berman’s loved ones told the judge that her death upended “peoples lives”, Durst coughed hard and appeared to struggle to breathe. His chest heaved and he drew his cover-up down below his cavity to gulp for air.

He was hospitalized 2 days later with COVID-1 9 and DeGuerin said he was on a ventilator. But Durst apparently recovered and was transferred to state prison where mug shots evidenced no signal of a ventilator.

The son of real estate magnate Seymour Durst, Robert Durst was born April 12, 1943, and grew up in Scarsdale, New York. He would later say that at age 7, he evidenced his mother’s death in a dusk from their home.

He graduated with an fiscals degree in 1965 from Lehigh University, where he represented lacrosse. He participated a doctoral program at the University of California, Los Angeles, where he met Berman, but sagged out and returned to New York in 1969.

He became a developer in the family business, but his father surpassed him over to make his younger brother, and adversary, Douglas the head of the Durst Organization in 1992.

Durst broke ties with their own families, reaching a settlement with a family trust. He was estimated to have a fortune of about $100 million.

Douglas Durst vouched at trial that he feared two brothers wanted to kill him.

“Bob lived a sad, pain and dire life-time ,” he said in a statement Monday.” We hope his death brings some ending to those he hurt.”




In 1971, Robert Durst matched Kathie McCormack, and the two married on his 30 th birthday in 1973.

In January 1982, his wife was a student in her final time at medical academy when she disappeared. She had shown up accidentally at a friend’s dinner party in Newtown, Connecticut, then left after a request from her husband to return to their home in South Salem, New York.

Robert Durst told police he last consider her when he articulated her on a qualify to stay at their apartment in Manhattan because “shes had” years the next day.

Prosecutors said Berman, the daughter of a Las Vegas mobster, constituted as Kathie Durst to call Albert Einstein College of Medicine the next morning to say she was sick and wouldn’t be at her hospital gyration. The scold rendered an alibi for Robert Durst because it compiled it see his wife stimulated it safely to Manhattan after “hes seen” her.

He would divorce her eight years later, claiming spousal forsaking, and in 2017, at her family’s request, she was declared legally dead.

Kathie McCormack Durst’s clas said they plan to provide an update on Jan. 31 — the 40 th anniversary of her departure — into an investigation of others who helped cover up her killing, advocate Robert Abrams said.

Robert Durst is survived by his second wife Debrah Charatan, whom he married in 2000. He has no such children.

Under California law, a decision is quitted if a accused dies while the case is under appeal, said Laurie Levenson, a ordinance professor at Loyola Law School.

Attorney Chip Lewis said Durst had appealed.

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Associated Press writer Michelle A. Monroe in Phoenix contributed.

Read more: time.com









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