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Judge expected to sentence real estate heir Robert Durst to life for California murder

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Oct 14 (Reuters) – A California choose on Thursday is expected to give a compulsory life jail sentence to multimillionaire real estate heir Robert Durst, who was convicted final month of murdering his finest pal Susan Berman in 2000.

Durst, 78 and unwell, had spent a lot of the previous 4 many years evading the legislation, ever since his spouse Kathleen McCormack Durst went lacking in New York in 1982.

Los Angeles County prosecutors alleged he killed Berman as a result of she helped present a false alibi for Durst in 1982 and he feared she would reveal that to authorities.

A Los Angeles County jury discovered him responsible of capturing Berman, 55, behind the pinnacle in her Beverly Hills residence. The jury additionally discovered him responsible of the particular circumstances of mendacity in wait and killing a witness, which carry a compulsory life sentence with out the potential for parole.

Superior Court Judge Mark Windham, who presided over the trial, will pronounce the sentence from the bench.

The trial got here six years after Durst’s obvious confession was aired within the HBO tv documentary collection “The Jinx,” by which Durst was caught on a live microphone within the toilet saying to himself, “What the hell did I do? … Killed them all, of course.”

Lead prosecutor John Lewin, who had pursued Durst for years, credited “The Jinx” filmmakers Andrew Jarecki and Marc Smerling for their revealing interviews, which helped make a case towards Durst.

Durst was solely on trial for killing Berman in California, however prosecutors argued he murdered three folks: his lacking spouse, Berman and a neighbor in Texas who found his identification when Durst was hiding from the legislation.

Despite lengthy being a suspect within the disappearance of his spouse, a 29-year-old medical pupil, Durst was by no means charged.

The McCormack household has urged prosecutors in Westchester County, New York, to prosecute Durst for her murder.

Westchester County District Attorney Mimi Rocah reopened the case in May, shortly after taking workplace.

Durst, a most cancers survivor who makes use of a wheelchair, testified over 15 days in the course of the trial, 9 of them below cross-examination. He claimed he found Berman’s physique when he went to go to her however didn’t name police.

The prosecution additionally delved into the 2001 dying and dismemberment of Morris Black, who was Durst’s neighbor in Galveston, Texas. A Galveston jury acquitted Durst of murder, regardless that Durst admitted he chopped up Black’s physique and dumped it in Galveston Bay.

Durst mentioned Black pulled a gun on him and was shot by chance when the 2 males wrestled over the firearm.

With Black, as with Berman, Durst testified he at first tried to name the 911 emergency quantity however later determined towards it, fearing nobody would imagine he was not responsible.

Durst is the grandson of the founding father of The Durst Organization, considered one of New York City’s premier real estate firms. He way back left the corporate, which has developed a few of Manhattan’s signature skyscrapers.

Reporting by Daniel Trotta; modifying by Jonathan Oatis

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Robert Durst in his wheelchair looks at people in the courtroom as he appears in an Inglewood courtroom with his attorneys for closing arguments in his murder trial at the Inglewood Courthouse in California, U.S., September 8, 2021.  Al Sieb/Pool via REUTERS

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