Robert Durst, the convicted murderer, and disgraced multimillionaire real estate heir has died. He was 78.
Durst died in a California hospital while serving a life sentence for the murder of Susan Berman, his friend and confidante who prosecutors say helped him cover up the killing of his first wife.
In a statement, Chip Lewis, an attorney who represented Durst at trial, said Durst died “early this morning while in the custody of California’s Department of Corrections.
“We understand that his death was due to natural causes associated with a litany of medical issues we had repeatedly reported to the court over the last couple of years.”
Durst tested positive for Covid-19 immediately after the October sentencing for Berman’s killing and was transferred to the hospital, where he was placed on a ventilator.
His attorney said at the time that Durst “was having difficulty breathing and he was having difficulty communicating”. Even before the diagnosis, the 78-year-old had appeared sick, frail, and sometimes confused throughout the recent trial.
Durst’s death comes months after he was charged with murder in the death of his first wife, Kathie McCormack Durst, who disappeared in 1982.
Durst was accused of second-degree murder in the disappearance of McCormack, who went missing on 31 January 1982 at age 29. Her body was never found and was she declared legally dead in 2017 at the request of her family.
Last month, Durst was found guilty of murdering Berman, a friend who prosecutors say he shot at point-blank range in her home to prevent her from telling police what she knew about McCormack’s disappearance.
At the sentencing, Berman’s relatives pleaded unsuccessfully with Durst to tell the McCormack family where he buried his first wife’s body.
“Any hope of any kind of redemption you can find is in letting them know where to find Kathie,” Sareb Kaufman, Berman’s stepson, said.
The Berman case marked the first homicide conviction for Durst, who has been linked to the deaths of three people in three states over four decades, and came six years after the documentary series The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst brought the multimillionaire into the spotlight.
The series chronicled McCormack’s disappearance, the murder of Berman in 2000, and the 2001 death of a neighbor in Texas, where Durst was hiding out, disguised as a deaf-mute woman. He famously appeared to confess to the killings in the final episode of the series, saying to himself, “What the hell did I do? … Killed them all, of course.”