- Robert Durst was sentenced to life in prison after he was found guilty of murdering Susan Berman in 2000.
- The wealthy real estate heir was the subject of a 2015 HBO documentary called “The Jinx.”
- Prosecutors argued Durst murdered Berman to stop her from confirming he had killed his wife in 1982.
Robert Durst, the eccentric real estate heir who was convicted of murdering his best friend, has been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole,
“There is sufficient evidence, indeed, overwhelming evidence of guilt,” Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Mark Windham, who presided over the trial, said during the sentencing on Thursday.
The millionaire real estate heir was found guilty of murdering Susan Berman by a Los Angeles court last month. Prosecutors said that the now-78-year-old shot and killed Berman in 2000 in her home.
She was 55 at the time.
Prosecutors argued that Berman helped Durst cover up his wife Kathie McCormack’s disappearance and death in 1982. Durst is suspected to have killed Berman out of fear that she would talk to the police and confirm McCormack’s murder.
Windham described Berman’s murder as a “witness killing,” saying that “a circumstance of that crime was the denial of justice to the McCormack family, and they suffered terribly due to Kathy’s killing, … and that’s because Susan’s killing denied any chance of vindication.”
Family of Berman delivered impact statements during the trial ahead of Durst’s sentencing.
“Our statements today are meant to be a description of what we had lost because of Robert Durst,” Berman’s godson, Sareb Kaufman, said. “I had lost everything many times over because of him: family, friends, romances, jobs, investments, health, and sanity.”
“I was robbed, my beautiful son was robbed, of an absolutely extraordinary unforgettable brilliant person whose live was savagely taken from her at 55 when she had many years ahead,” Berman’s cousin Deni Marcus said.
Durst was the subject of a 2015 HBO documentary called “The Jinx,” during which he apparently admitted during taping to murdering not only McCormack and Berman, but a third person, neighbor Morris Black.
In a now-infamous scene, Durst went to the bathroom and, unaware his mic was still recording, said, “What the hell did I do? Killed them all, of course.”
He was arrested just hours before the last episode of the series aired for Berman’s murder.
He was acquitted of the murder of Black in 2003.
Durst’s trial was on pause for 14 months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. When it resumed, Durst, who has bladder cancer, took the stand just once to testify that he’d lie to get out of trouble.
“I did not kill Susan Berman. But if I had, I would lie about it,” Durst said, according to ABC News.
Prosecutors in the case cited a note sent to the police informing them of a “cadaver” at Berman’s home. The defense admitted Durst was the author of that note.
A longtime friend of Durst’s, Nick Chavin, testified against the millionaire, stating that Durst said about Berman: “It was her or me. I had no choice.”
According to Reuters, even though this trial only focused on Berman’s murder, prosecutors said Durst was responsible for all three murders which spanned 39 years.