, Robert Durst, real estate scion who was convicted of murdering his best friend, is dead at 78

Robert Durst, real estate scion who was convicted of murdering his best friend, is dead at 78

Robert Durst, real estate scion who was convicted of murdering his best friend, is dead at 78

(JTA) — When Robert Durst satisfied Susan Berman at UCLA in the late 1960s, they had at minimum 3 things in typical: They were Jewish, their moms were being dead and their fathers were related, Durst’s to New York’s high society and Berman’s to the Vegas mob.

On Dec. 23, 2000, in Los Angeles, Durst ended the friendship with Berman with a bullet by means of the back of his finest friend’s head.

Durst died on Monday, 78, in a California medical center, as a prisoner serving a everyday living sentence for murdering Berman. He was convicted in September, additional than 20 many years after the murder.

Durst’s dying brought to an conclude the sordid life of the scion of a billionaire true estate clan so estranged from his family that his brother testified towards him at the trial.

He was not only suspected of murdering his wife, Kathie McCormack Durst, in 1982, but he confessed to the shooting and beheading of a neighbor in Galveston, Texas, in 2001, when Durst was on the run as a suspect in the Berman killing and disguised as a mute lady. In that case, Durst argued that he had acted in self-defense and was acquitted.

Durst’s exploits — and seeming skill to evade the legislation — was fodder for Hollywood, once in fictional remedy starring Ryan Gosling, “All Superior Factors,” in 2010, and in 2015, in “The Jinx: The Existence and Deaths of Robert Durst,” an HBO documentary.

His settlement to cooperate with the documentary makers led to his downfall.

His friendship with Berman experienced been extraordinarily shut: Berman turned Durst’s spokesman and was his fiercest defender from suspicions that he experienced murdered his wife. He gave her away at her wedding day in 1984. Berman was obsessed with the career of her father, a mobster tied to Meyer Lansky and Bugsy Siegel.

They embarked on ventures alongside one another, even though at occasions he turned her down, like when she pitched him a Broadway musical based mostly on the Dreyfus affair, the tale of the Jewish French officer who was falsely accused of treason at the transform of the 20th century.

Following Berman was murdered, law enforcement received an anonymous be aware, declaring “CADAVER,” with her handle on it. Police identified her in her residence, deal with down, a pool of blood all around her head patterned with her terriers’ paw prints.

The HBO filmmakers confronted Durst with testimony from a handwriting specialist who explained that Durst experienced created the notice. Rattled and nonetheless hooked up to a microphone, he retreated to a bathroom, where by he said, “What the hell did I do? Killed them all, of system.”

Authorities had not charged Durst for Berman’s murder for absence of proof. His confession now a subject of televised history, Durst was arrested just ahead of the screening of the last episode of “The Jinx” (he mentioned he enjoyed the collection).

Serving time for a independent cost of illegal possession of a gun, Durst at last went to trial just after decades of delays — some because of to the pandemic — late very last calendar year. At his demo, a shut good friend of Durst’s testified that Durst experienced explained to him in 2014 that he experienced killed her because he feared she would turn him in for his wife’s murder.

Quickly right after he was sentenced to life in prison in Oct, he was identified with COVID-19. He was in the clinic for tests when he went into cardiac arrest and did not get better.

He had been jailed just before. Durst went on a cross-nation operate in Oct 2001 right after killing his neighbor in Galveston. Law enforcement caught up with him in Pennsylvania on Nov. 30. He had just stolen a hen salad sandwich from a Wegmans grocery retailer.

Months earlier, Self-importance Honest claimed not extended after his arrest, police experienced searched an apartment he stored in New Orleans. They located a wig on a styrofoam head and a medallion. On it was inscribed the title, “Dave Berman,” Susan Berman’s mobbed-up dad.

She experienced remaining it to Durst in her will.

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