Infamous murderer and millionaire real estate heir who featured in The Jinx documentary dies in prison

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Robert Durst, the convicted murderer, suspected serial killer and wealthy real estate heir, has died in prison.

The 78-year-old was serving a life sentence.

Durst died in a state prison hospital facility in Stockton, his lawyer Chip Lewis said.

Image: Durst’s trial was put on hold for 14 months due to the pandemic

He said it was from natural causes due to a number of health issues.

Durst was convicted in September of shooting Susan Berman at point-blank range in 2000 at her Los Angeles home, before being sentenced to life in prison last October.

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He was admitted to hospital with COVID two days later, his trial attorney Dick DeGuerin said.

Caught confessing on tape

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Durst’s trial – which began in March 2020 but was adjourned for 14 months due to the coronavirus pandemic – came six years after Durst’s apparent confession to multiple killings in the HBO TV series The Jinx.

Durst had still been wearing a live microphone after his interview and was heard saying to himself in the bathroom: “What the hell did I do? … Killed them all, of course”.

Although these quotes were later revealed to have been manipulated for dramatic effect, he was arrested on the eve of the final episode.

Image: Durst was charged only with the murder of his friend Susan Berman in 2000. Pic: AP

While Durst was only on trial for killing Ms Berman, prosecutors believe he murdered two others – his wife, Kathleen McCormack in 1982, and a neighbour in Texas who discovered his identity while he was hiding from police.

On the run

Durst met Kathie in 1971 and the two married on his 30th birthday in 1973.

In January 1982, she went missing after receiving a call from Durst to return to their home in South Salem. He claimed he had last seen her the previous day and would divorce her eight years later, claiming spousal abandonment.

Image: Durst was the grandson of Joseph Durst, who founded one of NYC’s top commercial property firms. Pic: AP

He went on the run in late 2000 after police re-opened the investigation into his wife’s disappearance, renting an apartment in Galveston, and disguising himself as a mute woman.

In 2001, the body parts of neighbour Morris Black began washing up in Galveston Bay.

He was never charged in the disappearance of his wife, a 29-year-old medical student, but was tried and acquitted for the murder of Texas neighbour Morris Black in 2001, claiming it had been self-defense.

Image: Susan Burman was believed to have given Durst an alibi for his wife’s murder. Pic: AP

He served three years in prison for violating his bail and “evidence tampering” in relation to the dismemberment of Mr Black’s body.

2020 trial

At his trial, prosecutors claimed Ms Berman had given him a false alibi in relation to the disappearance of his wife.

They alleged he killed Ms Berman to prevent her revealing this to the police.

Image: Durst went on the run in 2000 after police reopened the case into his wife’s disappearance. Pic: AP

He was suffering from bladder cancer and his health deteriorated during the trial. He was escorted into court in a wheelchair wearing prison clothing because, his attorneys said, he was unable to change.

Believed to be worth $100m (?73m), Durst is the grandson of Joseph Durst, who founded the Durst Organisation, one of Manhattan’s largest commercial property firms.

He became a developer in the family business, but his father made his younger brother, and rival, Douglas head of the Durst Organisation in 1992.