Robert Durst, the eccentric outcast of a robust New York real-estate dynasty, was sentenced to life with out the potential of parole Thursday for the execution-style murder of his greatest buddy Susan Berman greater than twenty years in the past.
“There may be adequate proof, certainly overwhelming proof, of guilt,” Los Angeles County Superior Courtroom Decide Mark Windham mentioned throughout the afternoon listening to as a frail-looking Durst, 78, leaned again low in his wheelchair, his head cradled by the mushy again.
“Susan Berman was a rare human being. I personally want I may have identified her,” Windham mentioned, calling her loss of life by the hands of the skyscraper scion an “terrible, disturbing crime.”
Durst was convicted of the first-degree murder final month after prosecutors laid out a sprawling principle of the case that dated again to the mysterious 1982 disappearance of his first spouse, Kathleen “Kathie” McCormack, in New York. They mentioned Durst killed Kathie as their marriage crumbled after which sidestepped suspicion by drafting Berman to assist cowl his tracks. When investigators took one other take a look at Kathie’s chilly case in 2000, Durst felt the partitions closing in and shot Berman at shut vary inside her Los Angeles bungalow to ensure her silence, they mentioned.
“Bob is a sociopath and narcissist within the excessive,” Berman’s de facto stepson Sareb Kaufman mentioned in his sufferer influence assertion Thursday, calling the aftermath of her homicide a “day by day soul-consuming and crushing expertise.”
“You’ve got murdered the one folks you’ve gotten ever impressed to like you,” he mentioned, addressing Durst instantly. “Any hope of any type of redemption you will discover is in letting (the McCormacks) know the place to seek out Kathie.”
Los Angeles County Deputy District Legal professional John Lewin later joined Kaufman in calling on Durst to talk up Thursday, admit to Kathie’s homicide and reveal the place her long-sought stays may nonetheless be discovered. Durst declined to make an announcement of his personal. “We intend to attraction,” his lead protection lawyer Dick DeGuerin informed the court docket.
Reached by telephone after the listening to, Kathie’s brother Jim McCormack informed Rolling Stone he wasn’t shocked Durst stayed mum. “I do know Bob. He’s going to select and select his moments. This wasn’t it,” he mentioned. “However I nonetheless hope he has an epiphany of conscience. He may nonetheless do such factor. Justice has been served for Susan, her household and her buddies, and there’s a small, incremental measure of justice with this conviction for Kathie, however I’m on the lookout for braveness, not cowardice, from Westchester County. Now that this trial and the sentencing are over, the whole lot pivots to Westchester County.” The brother mentioned he needs Durst charged with Kathie’s homicide subsequent and delivered to trial in New York.
In Los Angeles County, the jury heard from greater than 70 witnesses over 4 months of testimony earlier than convicting Durst of first-degree homicide and the particular allegations he was “mendacity in wait” and killed Berman to remove a witness to a different crime, specifically Kathie’s disappearance.
“I used to be robbed, and my lovely son was robbed, of a completely extraordinary, unforgettable good individual whose life was savagely taken when she was 55,” Berman’s cousin Deni Marcus informed the court docket Thursday, calling Berman “undeniably unforgettable” and “priceless.”
After eluding fees in Berman’s loss of life for years, Durst found himself back in the criminal crosshairs when he agreed to cooperate with the 2015 HBO documentary about his life, The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst, from filmmaker Andrew Jarecki, who attended the sentencing listening to Thursday. The docuseries was a sensation, weaving collectively all of the hallmarks of a true-crime thriller, from an exquisite 29-year-old medical scholar who disappeared with no hint to a mobster’s daughter shot behind her head and the next taking pictures loss of life and dismemberment of a Texas man by a millionaire who donned a girl’s wig to reside undercover in a cramped Gulf Coast condominium. The Jinx included uncommon and damaging commentary from Durst himself and unearthed new proof that Los Angeles authorities used to jumpstart a case that in any other case had been gathering mud.
Through the trial that began in March 2020 earlier than happening hiatus for 14 months because of the pandemic, prosecutors informed jurors that it was Berman, posing as Kathie, who known as in sick to Kathie’s medical faculty dean after she was final seen alive in 1982. The decision was crucial, they mentioned, as a result of it led investigators to imagine Durst’s declare his spouse had made it again to their Manhattan penthouse after he allegedly drove her to a Westchester practice station following a turbulent, argument-filled weekend at their lake home.
Berman — an writer who wrote about her unconventional life because the daughter of David Berman, a Vegas gangster who labored with Bugsy Siegel — stepped in to assist Durst in 1982 after they met as college students at UCLA within the late Nineteen Sixties and have become shut confidants, Lewin argued. In damaging testimony over the summer season, Sareb Kaufman’s sister Mella Kaufman testified that Berman as soon as made the startling admission to her that she “had been an alibi, or made a telephone name for (Durst).” Different witnesses gave comparable testimony.
In The Jinx, it was Sareb Kaufman who unearthed the 1999 letter from Durst to Berman that bore the identical distinct block lettering and misspelling of “Beverley” because the nameless so-called “cadaver notice” despatched to Beverly Hills police that alerted authorities to Berman’s physique. After Durst was confronted with the similarities on digicam, he wandered into a toilet along with his microphone on and muttered to himself what appeared to be a confession, although it was later picked aside and dismissed by DeGuerin.
After the penultimate Jinx episode with the letter bombshell, however earlier than the sequence finale the place Durst was confronted on digicam, the millionaire went on the run and was arrested on the Berman homicide warrant in Louisiana. Authorities present in his possession a revolver, $45,000 money, and a full-head latex masks full with a spiky silver hairdo.
The masks was an echo of one other elaborate disguise employed by Durst in Texas. The millionaire admitted to jurors he posed as a mute girl named Dorothy Ciner to cover out in Galveston across the time of Berman’s loss of life. Durst mentioned he making an attempt to maintain a low profile as a result of he was afraid the Westchester District Legal professional on the time, Jeanine Pirro, was gearing as much as cost him with Kathie’s loss of life.
It was in Galveston that Durst fatally shot and dismembered his neighbor Morris Black in 2001. He was acquitted of homicide within the case after claiming he killed Black in self-defense amid a battle over his gun. Durst mentioned he hacked up Black’s physique in a drunken panic and dumped his physique components in Galveston Bay. Jurors noticed grotesque images of the severed limbs throughout Berman’s trial after Durst’s attorneys fought however did not exclude them. In keeping with Lewin, Durst killed Black as a result of the neighbor found his true id whereas Durst was on the run after murdering Berman.
Throughout prolonged and weird testimony provided in his personal protection, Durst admitted he wrote the cadaver notice however claimed he solely stumbled upon Berman’s physique and didn’t know who truly shot her. The jury didn’t purchase that story and deliberated solely about seven hours earlier than unanimously voting to convict.
Decide Windham blasted Durst’s trial testimony as “profoundly unbelievable and incriminating” and ended the sentencing listening to Thursday saying that whereas Kathie’s family members weren’t invited to offer statements, he understood their “heartbreak” and wished them “peace.”
https://www.rollingstone.com/tradition/culture-news/robert-durst-sentence-susan-berman-murder-1242348/ | Robert Durst Sentenced to Life With out Parole for Susan Berman Homicide