Robert Durst Pleads Not Guilty In Susan Berman Murder Case
The real estate scion whose story was featured in The Jinx pleaded not guilty to his friend's murder in Los Angeles in 2000.
LOS ANGELES, CA — Robert Durst pleaded not guilty Thursday to a murder charge in connection with the death of his friend Susan Berman in Los Angeles 18 years ago.
Prosecutors allege that Durst, the black sheep of his New York real estate scion family whose story was documented in the HBO series The Jinx, murdered 55-year-old Berman in 2000.
Her body was found on Christmas Eve.
Durst is also suspected in the disappeareance of his first wife, Kathleen McCormack Durst, who vanished in New York in 1982. Her case is still unsolved.
Durst was convicted of dismembering his friend Morris Black in Texas, but was ultimately acquitted of his murder.
On March 14, 2015, Durst was arrested in New Orleans and charged with Berman's killing. In 2016, he was transferred to California.
In October 2018, Los Angeles Country Superior Judge Mark Windham ruled there was enough evidence to try Durst for the shooting of Berman.
Prosecutors believe that Durst killed Berman because she was about to be questioned by New York police about Kathleen's disappearance.
The murder charge against Durst includes the special circumstance allegations of lying in wait and killing a witness to a crime.
According to court documents, he has also been charged with personally using a handgun to carry out the murder.
Durst's lawyers have called this theory "illogical" and pointed out that there are no fingerprints or DNA evidence linking him to the crime.
The prosecutor claimed that Durst enlisted Berman to help cover up his role in Kathleen’s murder.
The prosecution alleges that Durst had Berman pretend to be Kathleen while placing a call to the dean of the New York medical school she attended.
"He killed her because he was afraid she was going to talk," the prosecutor said.
In the finale of The Jinx, Durst can be heard on a live microphone muttering to himself, "Killed them all, of course," and "There it is, you're caught."
He has denied that this was a confession, and later stated that he was "high on meth" when the documentary was being filmed.
At the end of the preliminary hearing last month, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mark E. Windham called Durst's comment in the documentary "cryptic."
According to various media reports, after a long legal battle with his family, Durst reached a settlement under which they awarded him a sum of $60 million to $65 million.
Read more: NBC News