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Robert Durst Dies, Aged 78, Just Months After Murder Conviction

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Robert Durst Dies, Aged 78, Just Months After Murder Conviction

Real estate heir Robert Durst has died at the age of 78, just months after he was convicted of murdering his friend Susan Berman in an execution-style shooting in 2000.

Attorney Chip Lewis told the New York Times that Durst died at San Joaquin General Hospital after he went into cardiac arrest.

“Mr. Durst passed away early this morning while in the custody of California’s Department of Corrections,” Lewis said.

“We understand that his death was due to natural causes associated with a litany of medical issues we had repeatedly reported to the court over the last couple of years.”

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Credit: Alamy
Credit: Alamy

In October last year, Durst was sentenced to life in prison without parole for murdering his friend Susan Berman, who died after being shot in the head at her Beverly Hills home in December 2000.

During Durst's trial, the court had heard how Berman had been preparing to go to police to tell them how she helped Durst cover up the killing of his first wife Kathleen McCormack in 1982 by providing a false alibi.

McCormack, a medical student, was last seen in 1982 and is presumed dead.

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Durst was arrested in 2015 while hiding out in a hotel in New Orleans, the night before the airing of the final episode of The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst aired.

In the episode, he was confronted with incriminating evidence and made what prosecutors said was a confession.

Durst could be heard muttering to himself on a live microphone in a bathroom: "There it is. You're caught."

Credit: Alamy
Credit: Alamy
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Prosecutors argued that Durst actually killed three people - Berman, McCormack and his elderly former neighbour Morris Black.

During the Berman trial his health deteriorated - having been escorted into court in a wheelchair wearing prison attire each day because his attorneys said he was unable to change into a suit.

Durst was born on 12 April 1943, the son of real estate magnate Seymour Durst. He grew up in Scarsdale, New York, later saying that, at age of seven, he witnessed his mother’s death in a fall from their home.

He graduated with an economics degree in 1965 from Lehigh University, before entering a doctoral programme at the University of California, Los Angeles, where he met Berman. However, he dropped out and returned to New York in 1969.

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He became a developer in the family business, but his father passed him over to make his younger brother, and rival, Douglas the head of the Durst Organisation in 1992.

McCormack, who married Durst in 1973, suddenly disappeared in January 1982, with her husband telling police he last saw her when he put her on a train to stay at their apartment in Manhattan because she had classes the next day.

He would divorce her eight years later, claiming spousal abandonment, and in 2017, at her family’s request, she was declared legally dead.

Featured Image Credit: California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation

Topics: US News

Jess Hardiman
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