At his arraignment yesterday, Robert Durst, a NY real estate heir infamous since the release of 2015 HBO true crime doco, The Jinx, pleaded not guilty to the murder of his friend, Susan Berman, in 2000, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney‘s office.
Last month, an LA judge ruled that there is enough evidence to try Durst for Berman’s murder, more than three years after he was first arrested and charged in New Orleans on the very same day The Jinx finale aired in the US.
He is charged with murdering Berman in late December 2000. Berman’s body was found by authorities inside her LA home on Christmas Eve, after they were sent an anonymous note with her address and the word ‘CADAVER’. The note has been admitted as evidence in the current trial.
Durst was previously implicated in the disappearance and probable murder of his first wife, Kathleen McCormack, in 1982. He was never charged over her death. Berman provided Durst’s public alibi after McCormack’s disappearance.
He was also acquitted of murdering his neighbour Morris Black, and of dismembering his body, in Texas, in 2001. A jury at his 2003 trial ruled he had acted in self defence.
Prosecutors argue Durst killed Berman so she would not pass on information about the disappearance of McCormack.
Durst first pleaded not guilty to Berman’s murder in 2016, but his trial was delayed until this year due to damage to the properties’ of Durst’s defence lawyers in Hurricane Harvey in 2017.
At the end of The Jinx, which explores the circumstances surrounding all three deaths, Durst is heard mumbling to himself into a hot mic, “There it is, you’re caught… What the hell did I do? Killed them all, of course.“
Durst faces a maximum sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.
He is due back in court on January 14.
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