1. Court clerk reads guilty verdict for Robert Durst, UPSOUND (English):
"Superior Court of California, County of Los Angeles, the people of the state of California versus Robert Durst. We the jury in the above entitled action find the defendant Robert Durst guilty of the crimes of first degree murder of Susan Berman and by application of Penal Code section 187 subsection."
HEADLINE: Millionaire Robert Durst found guilty of murder
ANNOTATION: A Los Angeles jury has convicted Robert Durst, 78, of murdering his best friend, Susan Berman, 20 years ago.
ANNOTATION: Berman was shot at point-blank range in her Los Angeles home as she was prepared to tell police how she helped cover up his wife's killing.
Inglewood, California – 1 September 2021
2. SOUNDBITE (English) Robert Durst, defendant, and John Lewin, prosecutor:
Lewin: "Mr. Durst, the last area that Mr. DeGuerin (defense attorney DeGuerin) covered with you, is he asked you did you love Kathy and then he asked you would you kill Kathy and you responded no, correct?"
Durst: "I responded that I loved Kathy and then I responded, I did not kill Kathy."
Lewin: "And then he asked you if you loved Susan and you said yes, you loved Susan and he asked you if you would kill Susan and you said no, correct?"
Lewin: "Mr. Durst, you have repeatedly admitted that if you had killed either Kathy or Susan or both of them, you would never tell us, correct?"
Lewin: "Nothing further."
ANNOTATION: Durst was not in court for the verdict, but in isolation at a jail because he was exposed to someone with coronavirus.
A Los Angeles jury convicted Robert Durst on Friday of murdering his best friend 20 years ago, a case that took on new life after the New York real estate heir participated in a documentary that connected him to the slaying that was linked to his wife’s 1982 disappearance.
Durst, 78, was not in court for the verdict from the jury that deliberated about seven hours over three days. He was in isolation at a jail because he was exposed to someone with coronavirus.
Durst, who faces a mandatory term of life in prison without parole when sentenced Oct. 18, was convicted of the first-degree murder of Susan Berman. She was shot at point-blank range in the back of the head in her Los Angeles home in December 2000 as she was prepared to tell police how she helped cover up his wife’s killing.
Berman, the daughter of a Las Vegas mobster, was Durst’s longtime confidante who told friends she provided a phony alibi for him after his wife vanished.
Prosecutors painted a portrait of a rich narcissist who didn’t think the laws applied to him and ruthlessly disposed of people who stood in his way. They interlaced evidence of Berman’s killing with Kathie Durst’s suspected death and the 2001 killing of a tenant in a Texas flophouse where Robert Durst holed up while on the run from New York authorities.
Durst was arrested in 2015 while hiding out in a New Orleans hotel on the eve of the airing of the final episode of “The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst,” in which 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.”
Durst’s decision to testify in his own defense - hoping for a repeat of his acquittal in the Texas killing - backfired as he was forced to admit lying under oath, made damning admissions and had his credibility destroyed when questioned by the prosecutor.
Defense lawyer David Chesnoff said Friday they believed there was “substantial reasonable doubt” and were disappointed in the verdict. He said Durst would pursue all avenues of appeal.
The conviction marks a victory for authorities who have sought to put Durst behind bars for murder in three states. Durst was never charged in the disappearance of his wife, who has never been found, and he was acquitted of murder in Galveston, Texas, where he admitted dismembering the victim’s body and tossing it out to sea.
The story of Durst, the estranged scion of a New York real estate developer, has been fodder for New York tabloids since his wife vanished. He provided plot twists so numerous that Hollywood couldn’t resist making a feature film about his life that eventually led to the documentary and discovery of new evidence in Berman’s slaying.