Los Angeles court sentenced Durst, 78, first degree murderer last month of murder 2000. Prosecutors argued that Durst shot Berman in an empty house in his home to prevent him from telling police what he knew of Durst’s first wife, Kathie McCormack Durst in 1982. The verdict marked the beginning of Durst’s murder, who was linked to the deaths of three people in three states.
The Chinese verdict was expected as prosecutors did not seek a death sentence and the judges also sentenced Durst to a felony charge of ambush and murder of a witness, with a life sentence.
The verdict came six years after the publication of The Jinx: The Life and Death of Robert Durst brought millions of dollars into the spotlight. A series of incidents described Berman’s murder, as well as the disappearance of Durst’s wife and the 2001 death of a neighbor in Galveston, Texas, where Durst was hiding outside hiding as a deaf woman. He was arrested on the night of the last episode of the series, in which Durst was seen confessing the murder, saying to himself, “What the hell did I do?… He killed them all, yes.”
In court, the 78-year-old was found to be more ill and thinner than he was in the 2015 records. He suffers from hearing loss and uses a wheelchair throughout the trial. At one point, after 38 hours of interrogation, the judge urged the presiding prosecutor to drop his questions. “Once upon a time, there was a limit,” the judge said.
Authorities have sought to imprison Durst for years because of his role in crimes that officials believe have led to the disappearance of McCormack’s murder.
“It all starts with the disappearance of Kathie Durst’s death from Mr. Durst,” John Lewin, an attorney general, said in his opening remarks at the Berman trial.
McCormack’s body was never found, although he was pronounced dead in 2017. The pair had been fighting before he disappeared, Durst admitted, and in recent weeks McCormack had gone to hospital with injuries he said were caused by Durst.
Prosecutors said Durst killed Berman, his best friend, because he was ready to tell police how he was helped to prevent McCormack’s murder. Berman had reportedly told a friend that he had given her a false alibi.
Durst had previously faced a Texas murder charge for the death of his neighbor Morris Black. While in Galveston, the heir tried to disguise himself as a dumb woman named Dorothy Ciner, but Black did not buy a cover and was shot and stripped of his limbs, prosecutors said. Durst and his legal team argued that he killed Black in self-defense, and was pardoned.
Prosecutors in New York are expected to plead guilty to charges against Durst over his wife’s death. Yes The Westchester district attorney’s office reopened an investigation into McCormack’s death but did not confirm reports of its criminal prosecution plan against Durst.
McCormack’s family was hoping to deliver a verdict on Thursday, a request rejected by California law that only the Berman family is eligible to make a claim in court, the Los Angeles Times reported.
“It was never assumed that they would not be allowed to give the victim a statement,” Robert Abrams, a McCormacks family lawyer, told the newspaper. “If someone really values criminal justice, you can expect that.”