Robert Durst was convicted of the crime of his best friend: portrait of a narcissistic millionaire who believed himself above the law

Durst, 78, was convicted of the first-degree murder of Susan Berman, who was shot point-blank in the neck at her Los Angeles home in December 2000 (Photo: Reuters)

A Los Angeles jury convicted Robert Durst on Friday of murdering his best friend 20 years ago. in a case that was given new life after the New York real estate heir participate in a documentary that linked him to the murder linked to the disappearance of his wife in 1982.

Durst, 78, was convicted of the first-degree murder of Susan Berman, who was shot point-blank in the neck at her Los Angeles home in December 2000. as she was prepared to tell the police how she had helped cover up the murder of Durst’s wife.

Berman, the daughter of a Las Vegas mobster, was Durst’s longtime confidant, and told her friends that she provided him with a fake alibi after the millionaire’s wife disappeared.

Durst was arrested in 2015 while hiding in a New Orleans hotel hours before the final episode of The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst, in which he faced incriminating evidence and he did what prosecutors claimed was a confession.

Durst could be heard muttering to himself, while in the bathroom, albeit with the mic open: “There is. You are trapped “.

Portraits shown at the youth trial of Durst and Berman, the daughter of a Las Vegas mobster who was Durst's longtime confidant (Photo: REUTERS)
Portraits shown at the youth trial of Durst and Berman, the daughter of a Las Vegas mobster who was Durst’s longtime confidant (Photo: REUTERS)

Durst’s decision to testify in his own defense, in the hope that his acquittal would be repeated in the Texas murder, was counterproductive, since it was seen forced to admit he lied under oath and his credibility destroyed when he was questioned by the prosecutor.

The conviction marks a victory for authorities who have tried to put Durst behind bars for murder in three states. Durst was never charged with the disappearance of his wife, who has never been found, and was acquitted of murder in Galveston, Texas., where he admitted to having dismembered the victim’s body and throwing it into the sea.

The story of Durst, the son of a New York real estate developer, has been the subject of New York tabloids since his wife disappeared nearly 30 years ago. He provided such numerous plot twists that Hollywood could not resist making a feature film about his life, which ultimately led to the documentary and the discovery of new evidence of Berman’s murder.

Durst fled the law several times, disguised as a mute woman in Texas and staying under an alias at a New Orleans hotel wearing a latex mask for an alleged getaway. He ran away in Texas and was arrested after stealing a chicken sandwich in Pennsylvania, despite having $ 37,000 in cash, along with two guns, in his rental car.

He later joked that it was “The worst fugitive the world has ever known.”

It fell thanks to the HBO documentary
It fell thanks to the HBO documentary “The Jinx”

Durst escaped scrutiny by investigators when his wife disappeared. But his problems reappeared in late 2000 when New York authorities reopened the case.

His attorney told him to be prepared to be charged in the case and he fled a life of luxury to Galveston, Texas, where he rented a cheap apartment as “Dorothy Ciner”, a woman who also pretended she could not speak. She eventually removed her costume after setbacks that included walking into a men’s room and lighting his wig in a bar while lighting a cigarette.

Just before Christmas, he testified that traveled to Los Angeles to visit Berman for a “home vacation” with plans to see some of the tourist sites.

Durst, who for a long time had denied being in Los Angeles at the time of Berman’s death, testified at trial that he found her dead on a bedroom floor when he arrived.

Berman, a writer who had been friends with Durst since they were students at the University of California, Los Angeles, was in serious financial trouble at the time. Durst had given him $ 50,000 and prosecutors suggested he was trying to get more money from him by telling him that he was going to speak to the police.

He rented a cheap apartment like
He rented a cheap apartment like “Dorothy Ciner.” She eventually removed her latex mask and costume after mishaps that included entering a men’s room and lighting her wig in a bar while lighting a cigarette (Photo: REUTERS)

Nine months after the death of her friend Berman, Durst killed his Galveston neighbor, Morris Black, in what he said was a self-defense accident. Durst said he found Black, whom he had befriended, in his apartment with a Durst .22 caliber pistol.

Durst was acquitted after testifying that the 71-year-old was killed in a fight over the gun. Durst then cut Black’s body into pieces and threw him into the sea. He was convicted of destroying evidence for discarding body parts.

After the trial and the gruesome evidence of the dismemberment, Durst discovered that he was an outcast, said. Despite an estimated $ 100 million fortune, several condo associations turned him down and said the Los Angeles County Museum of Art would not accept his money unless he made an anonymous donation.

Durst thought that a 2010 feature film based on his life, All the good things, starring Ryan Gosling as himself and Kirsten Dunst as Kathie, had been largely accurate and painted a sympathetic portrait, despite implicating him in three murders. He only objected that he was depicted killing his dog, something he would never do.

He approached the filmmaker and agreed to sit down to long interviews for a documentary. He encouraged his friends to do the same and gave the filmmakers access to boxes with your files.

He came to deeply regret his decision after The Jinx was issued in HBO in 2015, and rated it a “Very, very, very serious mistake.”

A photograph of him and his wife Katie, whom he also murdered
A photograph of him and his wife Katie, whom he also murdered

The filmmakers of the documentary discovered a Crucial evidence connecting him to an anonymous note sent to the police directing them to Berman’s lifeless body.

Durst, that he was so sure he couldn’t be connected to the note, told the filmmakers that “only the killer could have written” the note.

The filmmakers confronted him with a letter he sent to Berman a year earlier. The handwriting was identical and Beverly Hills was misspelled as “Beverley” on both. He couldn’t distinguish between the two pieces of paper.

The moment provided the climax of the film because after being confronted Durst stepped out of the camera and muttered to himself into a live mic in the bathroom: “I killed them all, of course.”

“It is very difficult to believe, to accept, that I wrote the letter and did not kill Susan Berman,” Durst testified (Photo: REUTERS)

During 14 days of testimony that was so punishing that Judge Mark Windham called it “devastating”Durst denied killing his wife and Berman, although he said he would lie if he did.

Tried to explain the note and what the prosecutors said was a confession during a moment of carelessness.

For the first time, Durst admitted on the witness stand that he sent the note and that he was in Los Angeles at the time of Berman’s death.

Durst said he sent the note because he wanted they’ll find bermanBut he didn’t want anyone to know that he had been there because it would look suspicious.

He acknowledged that even he had a hard time imagining that He could have written the note without killing Berman.

“It is very difficult to believe, to accept, that I wrote the letter and did not kill Susan Berman”, Durst testified.

A prosecutor said it was one of the things truer than Durst told amid a lot of lies.

(By Brian Melley – AP)

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