Robert Durst, inheritor to a New York actual property fortune whose life learn just like the twisted plots of true-crime tales and was convicted of homicide, has died. He was 78.
He died on Monday of cardiac arrest at a hospital in Stockton, California, the New York Instances reported, citing his lawyer. Durst was serving a life sentence on the California Well being Care Facility.
Sick with Covid-19, he had been positioned on a ventilator days after he was sentenced in October, his lawyer, Dick DeGuerin, stated on the time.
Durst, whose household manages about 15 million sq. ft of premier workplace and retail area in New York Metropolis and co-developed One World Commerce Middle, was discovered responsible in September of killing his longtime confidante Susan Berman twenty years years in the past in California.
Prosecutors stated Durst shot and killed Berman at her Beverly Hills dwelling simply earlier than Christmas in 2000, as a result of she helped him cowl up the homicide of his first spouse Kathleen McCormack Durst nearly 4 a long time in the past, and he feared Berman would possibly expose him to authorities. The killing occurred days earlier than New York investigators have been to speak to Berman in regards to the disappearance of Kathie Durst.
Kathie Durst, a medical pupil, disappeared one January night time in 1982 after she left the couple’s mansion in Westchester County, north of New York. She later was declared lifeless though her physique was by no means discovered. Her household filed a wrongful dying lawsuit in 2015 after the discharge of a documentary movie that offered proof linking Durst to Berman’s dying and included his obvious confession.
Prosecutors reopened the chilly case, and in November, Robert Durst was indicted for Kathie’s homicide.
Durst grew to become the topic of a Hollywood film and the broadly seen HBO documentary collection, “The Jinx: the Life and Deaths of Robert Durst.” He was arrested for murdering Berman on the eve of the movie’s remaining episode in 2015, which concluded with him showing to confess off-camera that he “killed all of them, in fact.”
It wasn’t the primary time Durst confronted homicide expenses. In 2003 he was acquitted in Texas of killing neighbor Morris Black earlier than dismembering him and tossing his stays into Galveston Bay.
Two items of proof in Jinx have been notably damning to Durst’s constant assertions that he had no involvement within the deaths of his spouse or Berman.
Andrew Jarecki, the director of the documentary, confirmed Durst an unsigned letter despatched to native police, alerting them a day earlier than Berman’s physique was found that there was a “cadaver” at her tackle. Jarecki then confirmed him a letter Durst had written to Berman. A handwriting skilled instructed Jarecki the letters had been written by the identical particular person, who had misspelled “Beverly Hills” the identical approach in each situations. Durst instructed Jarecki that the letter to police may solely have been written by Berman’s assassin however denied he had despatched it.
After Jarecki’s interviews concluded, however whereas nonetheless sporting the physique microphone used to document the session, Durst went to a rest room and is heard to say to himself: “There it’s. You’re caught…..What the hell did I do? Killed all of them, in fact.” (At a 2018 listening to, it was famous that within the uncooked audio these statements have been in a unique order than heard within the documentary, though it wasn’t clear if that made them much less damning.)
Utilizing DeGuerin, the identical lawyer whose group had secured a not-guilty verdict for Durst within the Black case, Durst pleaded not responsible to murdering Berman and denied once more he had killed his first spouse.
DeGuerin’s group had astounded prosecutors on the Texas trial by persuading a Galveston jury that Durst had struggled with Black to get possession of a pistol Black had pointed at him. Durst testified the gun had unintentionally gone off, killing Black. Fearful he wouldn’t be believed that the killing was unintentional, Durst stated he minimize up his neighbor’s physique with a bow noticed and tossed the elements into the close by bay.
Durst testified he had gone to Galveston, Texas, to keep away from the fixed consideration of the New York media about his lacking spouse. To evade detection, he dressed as a girl and pretended to be mute whereas renting an condo subsequent to Black’s.
Estranged from his household for the reason that mid-Nineteen Nineties, Durst minimize ties together with his kinfolk in 2004, and obtained $60 million to settle a lawsuit he’d filed towards the household’s trustees. Given his assets, he had no hassle making bail or hiring prime authorized expertise to defend himself from varied expenses, which included unlawful weapons possession.
Robert Durst was born April 12, 1943, in Scarsdale, New York, to Seymour and Bernice Durst. He attended Scarsdale Excessive Faculty and obtained a bachelor’s diploma in economics from Lehigh College. He met Kathleen McCormack in 1971 and married her two years later.
He labored for the household’s New York-based enterprise, the Durst Group, which started buying and creating actual property within the early 1900s and was run by his father Seymour Durst, who died in 1995. Durst’s youthful brother Douglas Durst was chosen to run the agency.
In 1990, Robert Durst formally divorced his first spouse and in 2000 married Debrah Lee Charatan.