It was a sensational trial in the USA: The real estate heir Robert Durst has to be imprisoned for life. He was convicted of the murder of his girlfriend over 20 years ago. In another case he had previously been acquitted.
American millionaire and real estate heir Robert Durst has been sentenced to life imprisonment without parole for the murder of a friend over 20 years ago. The sentence for the 78-year-old was announced by a judge on Thursday (local time) in Los Angeles, as US media reported. Thirst, who suffered from bladder cancer, among other things, appeared sitting in a wheelchair in the courthouse.
On September 17, Durst was found guilty by a jury of having shot and killed his friend Susan Berman at her Beverly Hills home over the Christmas period of 2000. At that time, she was supposed to testify before the police in the investigation into the still unexplained disappearance of Durst’s wife Kathleen Durst in 1982. Kathleen was never found – and no charges related to her disappearance were ever brought. Following the verdict, Kathleen’s family demanded that Durst be prosecuted for her disappearance as well.
The process began in March 2020, just before the coronavirus pandemic brought life to a standstill in the United States. He was resumed in May. The 14-month delay has been described by the defense as the longest adjournment with the same jury in United States history, according to the New York Times.
Thirst has also been in court earlier. In 2003 he confessed to having killed and dismembered a neighbor in Galveston, Texas, two years earlier. The killing was done in self-defense, he panicked and decided to dismember the body. Durst was acquitted. According to prosecutors, Durst wanted to steal the man’s identity to avoid the investigation into his wife’s disappearance.
In the 2015 HBO documentary “The Jinx,” Durst appeared to admit the murders. He went to the bathroom while still wearing a microphone on. That recorded a series of comments that looked like a confession. “You got caught! What the hell did I do? Killed them all, of course,” he said. However, according to media reports, the transcripts of the sound recordings in court showed that the quotations had been merged and edited to put them in a different order and context.