Durst faces a day of reflection in the murder of a top friend

LOS ANGELES (AP) – Robert Durst’s worst murder conviction was extended for a better two-year term. His sentence will be short and likely missing the fireworks that have exploded between the prosecutor-general and the defense attorney.

Eccentric New York real estate heir apparent faces life imprisonment in a Chinese parole-free prison, the first-degree murder of his best friend, Susan Berman.

“Now that the jury has obtained whodunnit, the punishment is clear,” said Loyola Law School Professor Laurie Levenson. “I’m not sure there’s much more left (the prosecutor) to say.”

Durst, 78, was convicted last month in Los Angeles Superior Court of shooting Berman point-blank in the head at his home in Los Angeles Christmas 2000.

The trial began in March 2020 and was suspended for 14 months as the coronavirus swept through the US with closed courts. It resumed in May with a court reaching its ruling on September 17.

Berman, the daughter of a Las Vegas veteran, was Durst’s long-trusted confidant who was preparing to tell police he had given her a bribe after his wife disappeared in New York in 1982.

Kathie Durst has not yet been found. Robert Durst has never been charged with felony criminal mischief.

But following his conviction in Berman’s death, which relied on evidence that he had killed his wife, a New York prosecutor ready to investigate the charges against him in his death, an informant told The Associated Press to remain anonymous.

Durst testified in the LA case, denying that he killed his wife or Berman, but said he would lie if he did.

Kathie McCormack Durst’s family was expecting a court hearing with China about their loss, but prosecutors rejected the request, according to emails sent to their lawyer.

Attorney Robert Abrams said the McCormack family was disappointed, and he was outraged. Family members will not attend the ruling.

“The family is not going to travel 3,000 miles to be a prop in one of the Hollywood production and stay there and not be able to talk about the victims,” ​​Abrams said. their life, and they suffered for forty years. ”

A spokesman for the court office did not return a text message seeking comment.

Levenson said it was uncertain whether Kathie Durst was caught in the Los Angeles case because Robert Durst was not charged with his murder. Allowing his brothers to speak at the trial would bring more controversy.

Defense attorneys are planning to challenge China’s new trial, saying there was not enough evidence to prove the case and document the 15 ways in which the judge failed.

The recommendation is to protect the plaintiffs and potential wrongdoers, Levenson said, although some of their requests could have been considered by the high court.

The defense said Judge Mark Windham should have announced the verdict when the jury was sent home and the case was adjourned. They said the length of the delay was unprecedented.

Many of the other cases relate to the acceptance of evidence, such as allowing prosecutors to give evidence that Durst killed a neighbor in Galveston, Texas, in 2001 and mutilated his body and threw the fragments into the sea. Durst was acquitted of murder after testifying that Morris Black had pulled out his gun and was killed in a gun attack.

They also denied evidence and a demonstration showed when Durst was arrested in New Orleans in 2015, he had a mask, a fake identity, drugs, forty dollars and a gun loaded in his hotel.

They also declined to feature a film based on Durst’s life and six novels, “The Jinx: The Life and Crimes of Robert Durst.”

To alleviate the number of cases of prosecution, prosecutors are likely to be restrained in their sentencing, Levenson said, especially if prison time has already been set.

District Attorney John Lewin was questioned by a reporter after trial what he had to say to Durst.

Lewin, who was furious and regularly beaten by defense attorney Dick DeGuerin over the six years he has taken from detention to trial, initially said he had nothing to say to the man he had been looking for for years.

He then called Durst a “narcissistic psychopath” who “killed his wife and … had to keep killing to hide himself.”

“She is 78 years old. He’s been walking for a long time, “said Lewin. She had a lot of life, you know, Kathie didn’t make thirty. he had a right to do so. ”


Associated Press author Michael R. Sisak in New York contributed to this report.

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