The New York real estate heir Robert Durst (78) has been found guilty in a sensational murder trial. The Los Angeles jury, after brief deliberation on Friday, concluded that Durst shot dead his close friend Susan Berman in the back of the head in their Los Angeles home in December 2000.
Durst himself was not present when the verdict was pronounced. He was in solitary confinement because he came into contact with someone who had the coronavirus.
The millionaire, who faces life imprisonment without parole if convicted on October 18, has been convicted of the first degree murder of Susan Berman.
This brings one of the most spectacular US criminal cases, which has kept investigators in suspense for decades, to an end. The focus: a missing wife, a murdered crime writer, a dismembered neighbor – and billionaire son Durst, owner of eleven skyscrapers.
Prosecutors painted the picture of a wealthy narcissist who disobeyed the law and ruthlessly eliminated anyone who stood in his way. They linked evidence of Berman’s murder to the alleged death of Kathie Durst and the murder of a tenant in a Texas dump in 2001, in which Robert Durst hid while on the run from the New York authorities.
The conviction is a victory for the authorities who tried to put the property heir behind bars for murder in three states. Durst was never charged with the disappearance of his wife, who was never found, and he was acquitted of the murder in Galveston, Texas.
Movie-ready murder mystery
The story of Durst, the estranged scion of a New York real estate company, has been a hit for the tabloids since his wife’s disappearance, which began in 1982.
At the time, Durst’s wife Kathie (28) wanted a divorce after nine years of marriage. She left a party in January and was never seen again afterwards. She said to a friend: “I’m afraid of what he can do to me.” She is still missing today.
Was she murdered by thirst? Even his brother Douglas was convinced of it. “I suspect he was practicing on dogs how to kill and dispose of his wife,” he told the New York Times. But there was nothing to prove Robert Durst.
In 2000, a close friend of Durst’s, crime novelist Susan Berman († 55), was found in her apartment on Christmas Eve with a gunshot wound in the back of her head. She must have known her killer and unsuspectingly let them in. She wanted to tell the New York police about Kathie Durst’s disappearance.
Fled Thirst, rented a cheap dump in Texas and posed as a woman named “Dorothy Ciner” who was deaf. Nine months after Susan Berman’s death, Durst killed and dismembered his 71-year-old neighbor in Texas, but was released on bail in self-defense and arrested again in Pennsylvania after stealing a chicken sandwich despite having $ 37,000 in cash along with it had two handguns in his rental car.
That TV show broke his neck
15 years later, the broadcaster HBO shot a six-part documentary about Robert Durst – and interviewed him for it. During a break in filming, Durst went to the bathroom and forgot that his microphone was still on. He mumbled to himself, “Of course I killed them all.” Accidentally an accidental admission to murder.
The case of Robert Durst was the basis for four books – and one film. In “All Beauty Must Die” (2010) Ryan Gosling plays the suspected millionaire, Kirsten Dunst his wife. Despite good reviews, the film only ran in a few cinemas in the United States and grossed $ 0.6 million. In Germany it could not be rented, only came on the market as a DVD in 2012.