Real estate heir Robert Durst pleaded not guilty to murder Monday in the death of a friend who authorities said Durst wanted to keep from talking to investigators looking into the disappearance of his first wife.
The 73-year-old Durst, wearing a neck brace and seated in a wheelchair, entered the plea during a long-awaited appearance in a Los Angeles courtroom in the death of Susan Berman 16 years ago.
"I do want to say here and now though I am not guilty," a pale and frail-looking Durst said in court. "I did not kill Susan Berman."
Durst's statement came after his attorney unsuccessfully argued to ban news media cameras from the courtroom.
Prosecutors said they would not be seeking the death penalty against Durst.
Durst was already a well-known figure in his native New York. But he became a national name when HBO aired the documentary "The Jinx" that followed his life and cast suspicion on him involving several crimes.
Los Angeles County prosecutors have been seeking to bring Durst to California since shortly after his arrest in March 2015.