Robert Durst found guilty of first-degree murder

Durst has been charged with the first-degree homicide of Berman in 2000 at her Beverly Hills house, hours earlier than she was set to speak to investigators concerning the mysterious disappearance of his first spouse, Kathleen McCormack Durst, who was final seen in 1982.

McCormack Durst was declared legally useless in 2017. Her physique has not been discovered and nobody has been charged within the case.

Jurors additionally agreed the crime met ‘particular circumstances’ in California regulation, which might enable Durst to be sentenced to life with out parole, for the homicide of a witness to against the law, mendacity in wait and utilizing a firearm within the homicide.

California has a moratorium on the demise penalty. Durst’s sentencing listening to is scheduled for October 18.

“The jury’s choice demonstrates how our authorized system can work to carry accountable individuals no matter their wealth and standing in life,” District Legal professional George Gascón stated. “I need to commend our prosecution staff and investigators for his or her diligent work to finally convey justice for individuals who have been ready greater than 20 years.”

Durst, 78, took the stand in his protection throughout the sensational trial in Los Angeles County Superior Court docket. He denied killing Berman and stated he discovered her on the ground of her bed room with a deadly gunshot to the again of the pinnacle.

Protection Legal professional Dick DeGuerin stated he was very disillusioned by the decision.

“We fought onerous, however we got here in second,” he stated.

Durst was not in courtroom to listen to the decision on account of current publicity to somebody with Covid-19. He stays in quarantine after one in every of his drivers examined constructive for the coronavirus, DeGuerin stated.

He stated he was unable to achieve Durst to relay the decision to him.

“We’re extraordinarily gratified and appreciative of the decision that the jury reached on this case,” lead prosecutor John Lewin stated afterward. He known as Durst a “narcissistic psychopath” and added, “He acquired much more of a life than he was entitled to.”

People listen as the verdict is read in court on Friday, September 17, 2021.

The decide ordered the jurors’ private figuring out data can be sealed for privateness and security. It’s as much as the jurors whether or not they select to debate any deliberations or verdict.

Durst’s testimony spanned three weeks, with a lot of the cross-examination devolving into contentious sparring with prosecutor Lewin.

Prosecutors allege Durst shot Berman within the head. They stated Durst confided to Berman he had killed Kathleen, and he or she helped him cowl his tracks.

On the stand, Durst denied murdering his first spouse and, later, Berman. However below cross-examination, Durst testified he would perjure himself if he had killed them. Lewin prompted Durst to confess he perjured himself 5 instances throughout the trial, which resumed in Might after a 14-month delay as a result of pandemic.

There was little bodily proof in Berman’s unsolved demise. There have been no individuals who witnessed the capturing and no homicide weapon.

In closing arguments, prosecutor Habib Balian pointed to one of many state’s strongest witnesses, a longtime good friend of each Durst and Berman, Nick Chavin, who testified the defendant had instructed him, “It was her or me,” referring to Berman. “I had no alternative.”

“These 9 phrases sum up your complete case,” Balian instructed jurors.

One other key piece of proof was the so-called “cadaver” word, a cryptic letter despatched to police with Berman’s tackle and the phrase “cadaver” in caps that led detectives to her physique.

Within the 2015 HBO documentary “The Jinx,” Durst stated the letter might have been despatched solely by Berman’s killer. Protection legal professionals had beforehand denied Durst wrote the word, they usually unsuccessfully tried to exclude from trial handwriting proof about it.

Filmmakers confronted Durst with one other letter he as soon as mailed Berman, with practically similar handwriting to the “cadaver” word. In each, Beverly Hills was misspelled as “BEVERLEY.”

In a courtroom submitting, legal professionals for the actual property mogul late final 12 months reversed course and acknowledged Durst penned the nameless word. “This doesn’t change the truth that Bob Durst didn’t kill Susan Berman,” DeGuerin stated on the time.

Durst’s second homicide trial is another chapter in an uncommon life that reached mass audiences by way of “The Jinx” miniseries.

He was arrested in New Orleans the evening earlier than the airing of the ultimate episode of the miniseries. In its closing moments, Durst went into the lavatory, apparently not realizing his mic was nonetheless on, and made a collection of feedback that grew to become notorious.

“There it’s. You are caught,” he stated in a collection of seemingly unrelated sentences. “He was proper. I used to be mistaken.”

“What the hell did I do? Killed all of them, in fact,” he stated in what was broadly interpreted by viewers as a confession. However transcripts of the audio recording in courtroom revealed that the quotes had been spliced and edited to be in a distinct order and context, The New York Instances has reported. Durst has stated he was “excessive on meth” throughout the taping of the documentary.

Durst’s well being has deteriorated for the reason that documentary. He’s skinny and hunched over and speaks in a whispery voice. Durst has bladder most cancers and has undergone a number of surgical procedures, together with the insertion of a shunt in his head to alleviate strain on his mind.

CNN’s Alexandra Meeks, Ray Sanchez, Stella Chan and Steve Almasy contributed to this report.

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