Robert Durst found guilty of first-degree murder in death of Susan Berman
LOS ANGELES - Jurors found New York real estate scion Robert Durst guilty of first-degree murder in the December 2000 killing of his friend, Susan Berman, at her home in the Benedict Canyon area of Los Angeles.
Jurors deliberated about 7 hours over three days before announcing they had reached a decision in the slaying of his best friend.
Durst was not in court to hear the verdict read, because he was in isolation following an exposure to COVID-19.
His attorneys argued for a delay in the verdict being read, but Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mark E. Windham rejected the request, noting that one of the jurors was going to be unavailable all of next week, potentially leading to a further delay in the case.
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Durst pleaded not guilty to murder in the death of Berman, who was shot in the back of the head in her Los Angeles home in December 2000. Prosecutors say he silenced Berman before she could tell police she helped him cover up the killing of his wife, Kathie, in New York in 1982.
Durst testified he didn’t kill his wife or Berman, though he said he’d lie if he had done so.
He was acquitted of murder in the 2001 killing of a neighbor in Texas.
During his trial, Deputy District Attorney John Lewin told jurors in Los Angeles County Superior Court that Durst, a multimillionaire, had lived a privileged life in which he played by his own rules and only cared about himself. Lewin said he didn’t kill for pleasure but to resolve problems when backed into a corner.
"Bob Durst is not crazy. He’s not some nut job serial killer who goes around killing for the thrill of it," Lewin said. "Don’t let this narcissistic psychopath get away with what he’s done."
This is a breaking news story and will be updated as more information becomes available.
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The Associated Press and CNS contributed to this report.