Mon. Jan 24th, 2022

Robert Durst, heir to a New York real estate fortune whose life read like the twisted conspiracies of true crime stories and was convicted of murder, is dead. He was 78.

He died Monday of cardiac arrest at a hospital in Stockton, California, the New York Times reported, citing his attorney. Durst served a life sentence at the California Health Care Facility.

Sick of Covid-19, he was placed on a ventilator days after being sentenced in October, his attorney, Dick DeGuerin, said at the time.

Durst, whose family runs some 15 million square feet of New York City’s leading office and retail space and co-developed One World Trade Center, was convicted in September of murdering his longtime confidant Susan Berman in California two decades ago. .

Prosecutors say Durst shot Berman dead just before Christmas in 2000 at her home in Beverly Hills because she helped him cover up the murder of his first wife Kathleen McCormack Durst almost four decades ago, and he was afraid Berman would turn him over to authorities would expose. The murder came days before New York investigators spoke to Berman about the disappearance of Kathie Durst.

Kathie Durst, a medical student, disappeared one January night in 1982 after leaving the couple’s mansion in Westchester County, north of New York. She was later pronounced dead although her body was never found. Her family filed a lawsuit over wrongful death in 2015 after the release of a documentary that presented evidence linking Durst to Berman’s death and including his apparent confession.

Prosecutors reopened the cold case, and in November Robert Durst was charged with Kathie’s murder.

Robert Durst appears in court Robert Durst appears in court [File: Getty Images]

Durst became the subject of a Hollywood movie and the widely acclaimed HBO documentary series, “The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst.” He was arrested for the murder of Berman on the eve of the film’s last episode in 2015, which concluded that he appeared to have admitted outside the camera that he “obviously killed everyone.”

This was not the first time Durst had been charged with murder. In 2003, he was acquitted in Texas of the murder of neighbor Morris Black before cutting himself apart and dumping his remains in Galveston Bay.

Two pieces of evidence in Jinx were particularly condemning for Durst’s consistent allegations that he had no involvement in the death of his wife or Berman.

Andrew Jarecki, the director of the documentary, showed an unsigned letter to Durst which was sent to the local police and warned them a day before Berman’s body was discovered that there was a “corpse” at her address. Jarecki then showed him a letter Durst had written to Berman. A handwriting expert told Jarecki the letters were written by the same person, who misspelled “Beverly Hills” in the same way in both cases. Durst told Jarecki the letter to police could only have been written by Berman’s killer, but denied sending it.

After Jarecki’s interviews were completed, but while still wearing the body microphone used to record the session, Durst went to a bathroom and was heard to say to himself, “There it is. You’re caught… ..What the hell did I do? Of course, they killed everyone. ” (At a 2018 trial, it was noted that in the raw audio, those statements were in a different order than what was heard in the documentary, although it was not clear whether this made them less damning.)

With the help of DeGuerin, the same lawyer whose team secured an innocent sentence for Durst in the Black case, Durst pleaded not guilty to the murder of Berman and again denied that he killed his first wife.

DeGuerin’s team stunned prosecutors at the Texas trial by convincing a Galveston jury that Durst struggled with Black to obtain possession of a handgun. Black aimed at him. Thirst testified the gun went off accidentally and Black died. Fearing he would not be believed the murder was unintentional, Durst said he cut up his neighbor’s body with a jigsaw and threw the parts into the nearby bay.

Durst testified he went to Galveston, Texas, to avoid the constant attention of the New York media about his missing wife. To evade detection, he dressed like a woman and pretended to be dumb while renting an apartment next to Black’s.

Durst, who has been estranged from his family since the mid-1990s, severed ties with his family in 2004 and received $ 60 million to settle a lawsuit he filed against the family’s trustees. Given his resources, he had no trouble getting bail or hiring top legal talent to defend himself against various charges, which included illegal weapons possession.

Robert Durst was born on April 12, 1943 in Scarsdale, New York, to Seymour and Bernice Durst. He attended Scarsdale High School and received a bachelor’s degree in economics from Lehigh University. He met Kathleen McCormack in 1971 and married her two years later.

He worked for the family’s New York-based business, the Durst Organization, which began in the early 1900s to acquire and develop property and was managed by his father, Seymour Durst, who died in 1995. Durst’s younger brother Douglas Durst was chosen to be the firm.

In 1990, Robert Durst formally divorced his first wife and in 2000 married Debrah Lee Charatan.

Source link

By admin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *