Robert Durst found guilty of the murder of his friend Susan Berman
- Robert Durst was convicted of the first-degree murder of Susan Berman
- Jurors deliberated about 7 hours over three days before announcing the verdict
- Durst testified he did not kill his wife or Berman
The Los Angeles jury deliberating the murder trial of New York real estate heir Robert Durst announced that it had reached a verdict and pronounced him guilty of first-degree murder on Friday after a lengthy debate.
Durst was convicted of the first-degree murder of Susan Berman, who 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.
Jurors deliberated about 7 hours over three days before announcing that they had reached a decision in the lengthy murder case.
The 78-year-old real estate baron Durst faces life in prison in the case after conviction.
The trial lasted 58 days spread over a year and a half. This period included a one-year suspension due to the coronavirus pandemic. During the trial, prosecutors presented a ton of circumstantial evidence pointing toward Durst, who testified that he discovered Berman's murdered body when he went to visit her but did not call the police.
Prosecutors said Durst silenced Berman to prevent her from telling police what she knew about the disappearance and suspected killing of his wife in New York in 1982.
Durst testified he did not kill his wife or Berman while also saying that he would lie if he had done so.
The New York-based billionaire was arrested in 2015 from 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.
Besides "The Jinx" audio, where he seemed to confess to the murder, prosecutors presented two other pieces of evidence that damaged Durst's defense. One was the testimony of Nick Chavin, a mutual friend. The testimony was recorded in 2017. In the testimony, Chavin said that Durst had admitted to him in 2014 that he had killed Berman.
He was acquitted of murder in the 2001 killing of a neighbour in Texas.