Robert Durst, US real estate heir and subject of The Jinx, found guilty of first-degree murder

Robert Durst, the US real estate heir and subject of HBO documentary The Jinx, has been convicted of killing his best friend Susan Berman more than two decades ago.

Durst, 78, was found guilty of first-degree murder on Friday after jurors in Los Angeles deliberated for just seven and a half hours before convicting the millionaire of killing Berman in 2000 to prevent her speaking to police about his wife’s disappearance.

In a nutshell

Robert Durst, the scion of an iconic New York real estate dynasty, was convicted of the 2000 killing of his close confidante, Susan Berman.

Sept. 3, 2003 – New York millionaire, Robert Durst walks toward a locked stairway in the hallway outside the 212th Judicial District Court in Galveston, Texas during a lunch break Wednesday. Galveston County Sheriff Officers wereÃbehindÃRobert Durst and out of sight of the camera, in front of him also..K32519ROM . ROBERT MIHOVIL / 2003 09/03/2003.(Credit Image: © Robert Mihovil/ZUMA Wire)

Berman was shot dead at her Beverly Hills home in December 2000. She had previously acted as a spokesperson for Durst following the 1982 diappearance of his wife, Kathleen McCormack.

Durst, who had taken the stand in LA last month to deny killing Berman, was not present in court to hear Friday’s verdict due to being a potential close contact to someone with Covid-19.

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Background

Durst’s wife, Kathleen McCormack, went missing in 1982 and is presumed dead.

Throughout the course of the murder trial in Los Angeles, jurors heard from prosecutors that Durst was a “narcissistic psychopath” who murdered Berman in 2000 in anticipation of her speaking to investigators about his wife’s disappearance.

The guilty verdict was welcomed by Berman’s family, who said: “The justice system in Los Angeles has finally served the Berman family. It is now time for Westchester to do the same for the McCormack family.”

Durst could be sentenced to life without parole. His sentencing hearing will take place on October 18.

Prosecutors argued that Durst has, in total, killed three people in McCormack, Berman and former neighour Morris Black, who crossed paths with Durst in Texas in 2001. Durst was previously acquitted of murdering Black, despite dismembering his body, as his self-defence argument was accepted.

The Jinx

The case captivated viewers of the hit HBO crime documentary, The Jinx, in 2015.

The six-part miniseries, directed by Andrew Jarecki, focused on the crimes of which Durst had been accused and memorably concluded with the real estate heir being arrested the day before the finale of The Jinx aired.

The documentary featured one of the most unforgettable moments in true crime television history as Durst, forgetting he was wearing a microphone, took a break from an interview and could be heard muttering “What the hell did I do? Killed them all, of course” off camera.

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