5 Revelations From The Robert Durst Murder Trial
The millionaire denies he executed his best friend, Susan Berman, in 2000.
Robert Durst has been on trial in Los Angeles Superior Court for the death of his best friend, Susan Berman, who prosecutors allege he shot execution-style in her Beverly Hills home in December 2000.
He has pleaded not guilty to a charge of first-degree murder.
Durst was arrested in March 2015 after law enforcement tracked him down to a New Orleans hotel. He was found with a loaded gun, latex mask, maps of Florida and Cuba, and almost $45,000 in cash, according to the New York Post.
Durst’s capture came just hours before HBO’s The Jinx aired a recording that filmmakers captured of the reclusive millionaire having a conversation with himself. Durst had gone to the bathroom after shooting the final scenes of the docuseries, but he appeared to not know his mic was still switched on.
“What the hell did I do? Killed them all, of course,” he can be heard muttering off-camera.
Photo: Robert Durst appears in court for opening statements in his murder trial on March 4, 2020 [Pool/Getty].
Durst Denies He Had Anything To Do With Berman’s Death
During Mar. 10 opening statements, defense lawyers said Durst “panicked” after he discovered Berman’s body at her Beverly Hills home, and the millionaire concedes he mailed police a note about a “cadaver” at her address, Bloomberg reported.
But “Bob Durst didn’t kill Susan Berman, and he doesn’t know who did,” insisted Durst’s defense lawyer, Dick DeGuerin.
Photo: Deputy District Attorney John Lewin during the second day of opening statements of Durst's murder trial at the Airport Branch Courthouse in Los Angeles Thursday, March 5, 2020 [AP].
Prosecutors Claim Durst Is Responsible For Multiple Murders
Although Durst is only currently charged with Berman’s death, prosecutors allege he’s connected to three murders in three states.
For years, Durst has faced questions about what happened to his first wife, Kathie Durst, who mysteriously vanished from their home in South Salem, New York, in 1982.
“Bob Durst killed Kathie Durst in the midst of a nasty divorce,” Deputy DA John Lewin argued during opening statements on Mar. 9.
Kathie’s body has never been found, and she was declared legally dead in 2017.
Lewin claimed Durst next murdered his best friend, Berman, in December 2000. Two months before, the attorney noted, the New York State Police had reopened the investigation into Kathie’s disappearance.
Durst “was afraid that Susan Berman was going to reveal what she knew,” Lewin alleged.
Prosecutors then claimed Durst was responsible for the September 2001 death of his neighbor, Morris Black, in Galveston, Texas.
Durst was reportedly living in the city, disguised as a mute woman, when Black’s headless torso and limbs were found floating in Galveston Bay.
Durst was arrested and charged with murder, but a jury found him not guilty at his trial in 2003 after he claimed he shot Morris in self-defense following a fight over a gun, CBS News reported.
However, “Mr. Black knew who he was and was able to connect him to his name and [to] New York,” Lewin contended at the Berman trial. “In the end, Bob Durst eliminated a problem.”
Photo: Robert Durst (C) sits in State District Judge Susan Criss court with his attorney Dick DeGuerin (R) November 10, 2003 at the Galveston County Courthouse in Galveston, Texas. At the time Durst was being charged for the murder and mutilation of his neighbor Morris Black [James Nielsen/ Getty Images].
Prosecutors Claim Durst Is “Not Crazy”
Prosecutors alleged in court that Durst is a cold-blooded killer who knew exactly what he was doing when he killed Berman, the New York Post reported.
“Although the murders Bob Durst committed are horrible, they’re not crazy and they’re not the signs of a deranged individual,” Deputy DA Lewin told jurors. “Cruel, illegal, immoral, homicidal — but not crazy.”
Photo: In this March 17, 2015, file photo, Robert Durst smiles as he is transported from Orleans Parish Criminal District Court to the Orleans Parish Prison after his arraignment on murder charges in New Orleans [AP/Gerald Herbert, File].
Durst Allegedly Acted Strangely Following Kathie’s Disappearance
Durst acted oddly in the days, weeks and months after Kathie vanished into thin air, the woman's brother, Jim McCormack, said in court on Mar. 12, according to Bloomberg.
McCormack testified he first learned his sister was missing when a seemingly unconcerned Durst called to ask if he’d seen her.
McCormack told jurors that when he called Durst occasionally for any updates his brother-in-law would be “rudely dismissive.”
“There’s no doubt in my mind that [Kathie] died on Jan. 31, 1982,” McCormack said.
Photo: Daily News page 8 and 9, November 11, 2000 [NY Daily News via Getty Images].
While awaiting the resumption of the trial go to ID GO to watch Robert Durst: An ID Murder Mystery.
Photo: Robert Durst of the Durst Organization, Inc. [Bill Turnbull/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images].