#AceNewsReport – Sept.19: The verdict is the first homicide conviction for a man suspected of killing three people in three US states over the past 39 years.
#AceDailyNews says that US real estate heir Robert Durst — subject of HBO series The Jinx — convicted of murdering friend Susan Berman in 2000 and now at 78yrs-of-age he faces up to life in prison…..after the nine-woman, three-man jury had deliberated for seven and a half hours over three days.
Posted 14h ago, updated 14h ago
Los Angeles County prosecutors called Durst a “narcissistic psychopath” who killed Ms Berman in an attempt to cover up the disappearance of his wife, Kathleen McCormack Durst, in New York in 1982.
Durst was only on trial for killing Ms Berman in California, but prosecutors argued he murdered three people: his missing wife, Ms Berman and a neighbour in Texas who discovered his identity at a time when Durst was hiding from the law.
Despite long being a suspect in the disappearance of his wife, a 29-year-old medical student, Durst was never charged.
Prosecutors said he killed her then decided to kill Ms Berman 18 years later because she had told others that she helped Durst cover up the crime.
Defence lawyers in turn portrayed Durst, a frail cancer survivor who uses a wheelchair, as a “sick old man”, referencing Durst’s claim he is on the autism spectrum.
They noted prosecutors, who questioned him for nine days of cross-examination, were unable to produce forensic evidence linking Durst to the murder of Ms Berman, 55, who was shot in the back of her head inside her Beverly Hills home.
The trial came six years after Durst’s apparent confession in the HBO television documentary series The Jinx, in which he was caught on a hot microphone in the bathroom saying to himself, “What the hell did I do? … Killed them all, of course.”
In 58 days spread over a year and half, including a one-year suspension after the trial began due to the coronavirus pandemic, prosecutors presented mountains of circumstantial evidence pointing towards Durst, who testified that he discovered Ms Berman’s murdered body when he went to visit her but did not call police.
The prosecution also delved into the 2001 death and dismemberment of Morris Black, who was Durst’s neighbour in Galveston, Texas.
A Galveston jury acquitted Durst of murder, even though Durst admitted he chopped up Mr Black’s body and dumped it in Galveston Bay.
In Texas, and again in the Los Angeles trial, Durst testified that Mr Black pulled a gun on him and was shot accidentally when the two men wrestled over the firearm in Durst’s apartment.
The California prosecutors argued that Durst murdered Mr Black because he discovered Durst’s identity, and Durst feared Mr Black would turn him in.
At the time Durst was using an assumed name and disguising himself as a woman because he feared he might be arrested by New York investigators who had reopened the case of his missing wife.
Mr Black’s death marked the second time Durst had a dead body at his feet, according to his own testimony.
In the deaths of both Mr Black and Ms Berman, Durst said he at first planned to call the 911 emergency number but later decided against it, fearing nobody would believe he was not guilty.
Superior Court Judge Mark Windham, who oversaw the trial, will set a date for sentencing.
#AceNewsDesk report ……….Published: Sept.19: 2021:
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