Robert Durst, the wealthy New York real estate heir and failed fugitive who was dogged for decades with suspicion in the disappearance and deaths of those around him before he was convicted of killing his best friend and sentenced to life in prison, has died. He was 78.
Durst died Monday in a state prison hospital facility in Stockton, attorney Chip Lewis said. He said the death was from natural causes due to a number of ailments.
Durst was convicted in September of shooting Susan Berman at point-blank range at her Los Angeles home in 2000. He was sentenced Oct. 14 to life in prison without parole.
Durst had long been suspected of killing his wife, Kathie, who went missing in New York 1982 and was declared legally dead.
But only after Los Angeles prosecutors proved that the motive in Berman's death was to silence her because she helped him cover up Kathie’s killing was he indicted by a New York grand jury in November for second-degree murder in his wife's death.
Los Angeles prosecutors told jurors that Durst got away with murder in Texas after shooting a man who discovered his identity when he was hiding out in Galveston after Berman’s killing. Durst was acquitted of murder in that case in 2003, after testifying he shot the man as they struggled for a gun.
Deputy Los Angeles District Attorney John Lewin said jurors told him after the verdict that they believed Durst murdered Morris Black in Texas and had killed his wife.
Durst discussed the cases and made several damning statements including a stunning confession during an unguarded moment in the six-part HBO documentary series “The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst.”
The show made his name known to a new generation and brought renewed scrutiny and suspicion from authorities. He was arrested in Berman’s killing the night before the final episode, which closed with him mumbling to himself in a bathroom while still wearing hot mic saying: “You’re caught! What the hell did I do? Killed them all, of course.”