New York real estate heir Robert Durst, who was sentenced to life imprisonment on Thursday for murdering his close close Susan Berman in 2000, has been placed on a ventilator after contracting coronavirus, his lawyer said on Saturday.

The 78-year-old was in “very bad condition” during Thursday’s sentencing hearing, his lead defense attorney, Dick DeGuerin, said in an email to The New York Times.

“He was having difficulty breathing and he was having difficulty communicating. He looked worse than I’ve ever seen him and I was very worried about him,” he said in an email. 

Robert Durst was in a wing of USC Medical Center under Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s watch throughout the trial, however, it was not clear if he was still in that facility. Details regarding when or where he became infected with the coronavirus were not known.

Also Read: From billionaire to fugitive to convict: The Robert Durst timeline

Robert Durst joined UCLA in 1965 where he met and became friends with Susan Berman, the daughter of a mobster. He married Kathleen McCormack eight years later, however, their marriage started falling apart by 1981.

On January 31, 1982, Kathleen was found missing but Robert did not report her missing until February 5. In November 2020, amid reports that Robert’s first wife’s case was being reopened, he moved to Texas and rented an inexpensive apartment.  

Also Read: Robert Durst’s murder trial: The lurid saga of a serial killer

Berman, who was supposed to be questioned by Kathleen’s disappearance detectives, was found dead a month later in her LA home. Months after her death, Robert killed his Texas neighbour Morris Black, in what he said was either an accident or self-defence. Prosecutors argued that Durst planned Black’s killing to steal his identity.

On September 17 this year, Durst was pronounced guilty of first-degree murder for killing Susan Berman. He was sentenced to life imprisonment on October 14.