Robert Durst, a wealthy New York real estate heir and unsuccessful fugitive, was convicted of killing his best friend and suffering from decades of suspicion over the disappearance and death of his surroundings before being sentenced to life in prison. He is 78 years old.
Durst died at the state prison hospital in Stockton, according to his lawyer, Chip Lewis. He said this was due to a number of health issues, from natural causes.
Durst was convicted in September of shooting Susan Burman at the Point-Blanc Range in 2000 at her Los Angeles home. He was sentenced Oct. 14 to life imprisonment. Two days later, he was hospitalized with COVID-19, said his trial attorney, Dick DeGuirin.
Durst is suspected of killing his wife, Kathy, who was lost in 1982 and has been declared legally dead. She was eventually charged with second-degree murder in November.
Los Angeles prosecutors presented evidence that Durst silenced Berman because she helped cover up Cathy’s murder and was going to talk to investigators. He argued that he killed a Texas man who discovered his identity while living in Galveston in secret after Burman’s assassination. Durst was acquitted of murder in that case in 2003, after he gave evidence and shot himself in self-defense.
Durst discussed the cases and made several reprehensible statements, including the dazzling confession of an insecure moment in the six-part HBO documentary series “The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst.”
The show made its name known to a new generation and brought new scrutiny and suspicion from the authorities. He was arrested in Burman’s murder the night before the final episode, while he was whispering to himself in the bathroom while wearing a hot mic: “You are trapped! What have i done Of course, they killed them all.
It was later revealed that the references were manipulated for dramatic effect but new evidence was collected, including the envelope linking Durst with the scene of the Burman assassination and the indictment – Durst’s cooperation against the advice of his lawyers and friends. He did.
Police received a note directing them to Burman’s home where the word “CADAVER” was written in block letters.
In interviews given between 2010 and 2015, Durst told the maker of “The Jinx” that she did not write a note, but who killed her.
“You were writing a note to the police, only the killer could write,” Durst said.
His defense attorneys admitted earlier in the trial that Durst had written the note, and prosecutors said it was tantamount to a confession.
Clips from “The Jinx” and Ryan Gosling perform the fictional version of Durst in the 2010 film “All Good Things”, starring in the experiment.
As did Durst himself. His lawyer again took the risk of standing up for three weeks of testimony. It didn’t work like it was in Texas.
Under the devastating cross-examination of Prosecutor John Levine, Durst admitted that he had previously lied under oath and would do it again to get out of trouble.
“‘Did you kill Susan Burman?’ It is strictly a fiction, “said Durst.” I have not killed Susan Burman, but if I had it, I would lie about it.
The jury returned a guilty verdict immediately.
It was a long time before he would avoid any such crimes.
After Durst reopened the investigation into his wife’s absence in the late 2000s, Durst fled in Galveston after renting a modest piece of art and disguising himself as a dumb woman.
In 2001, parts of the body of neighbor Morris Black began washing up in Galveston Bay.
Durst, who was arrested in the murder, was granted bail. Six weeks later he was arrested in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, for stealing a sandwich he had left for college. Police found $ 37,000 in cash and two handguns in his car.
He testifies that Black pulled a gun on her when Kanye left during the fight. He told the judge in detail how he bought the equipment and dismembered and dismantled the black body. He was acquitted of murder. He pleaded guilty to violating his bail, and brought evidence for the amputation. He was sentenced to three years in prison.
Durst had bladder cancer and his health deteriorated during the Burman trial. He was taken to court in a wheelchair every day because his lawyer said he could not change into a suit. But the judge denied further delays after a 14-month hiatus during the coronavirus epidemic.
Degwerin said Durst was “very, very, very sick” in his sentencing hearing, and that this is the worst he has seen in the last 20 years to represent him.
Durst entered the courtroom with an empty gaze of wide eyes. By the end of the trial, Burman’s loved ones told the judge how her death had heightened their lives, Durst coughing hard and then struggling to breathe. His chest became heavy and he pulled his mask under his mouth and began to whisper for air.
Robert Durst Rel, son of real estate tycoon Seymour Durst, was born in 1943 and raised in Scarsdale, New York. He later says that at the age of 7, he witnessed the death of his mother during a fall from his home.
He graduated from Lehigh University in 1965 with an economics degree, where he played lacrosse. He entered the doctoral program at the University of California, Los Angeles, where he met Burman, but left in 1969 and returned to New York.
He became a developer in the family business, but his father passed his younger brother and rival Douglas in 1992 to make him head of the Durst firm.
In 1971, Robert Durst met Kathy McCormack and in 1973 they were married on her 30th birthday.
In January 1982, his wife was a final year student in medical school, and she disappeared. She appeared unexpectedly at a friend’s dinner in Newtown, Connecticut, and then left after her husband called for her to return to their home in South Salem, New York.
Robert Durst told police that the last time he saw her was when he put her on the train to stay in her art in Manhattan because she had classes.
He divorced her eight years later, claiming the spouse’s abandonment and in 2017, at the request of her family, she was declared legally dead.
Robert Durst is survived by his second wife, Debra Charaton, whom he married in 2000; They had no children.
Under California law, the sentence is vacated if a defendant dies at the trial of the case, said Laurie Lawson, a law professor at Loyola Law School.
Lewis said Durst had applied.