Robert Durst Sentenced To Life In Prison For Best Friend’s Murder

Robert Durst is the eldest son from a New York billionaire real estate family. He will spend the rest his life in prison for his murder of Susan Berman, his best friend and journalist. Durst shot her at close range in her Los Angeles home more than 20 years ago.

Robert Durst, real estate heir, looks on during his murder trial in Los Angeles on March 10, 2020. [+] California. Getty Images

The Key Facts

Durst was sentenced to life imprisonment without parole for first-degree killing. Durst was sentenced with a special circumstance. Berman was murdered because she was a witness to a crime. California law requires that Durst be either sentenced to life imprisonment or death. Prosecutors claimed that Durst murdered Berman to protect his wife Kathleen McCormack Durst. Durst disappeared in 1982, and was declared deceased in 2017. Judge Mark Windham denied Durst's request for a new trial. Durst's legal team has stated that they will appeal.


Berman, 55, died in a car accident. She was the daughter and former dancer Betty Berman, a Jewish-American mobster who pioneered gambling in Las Vegas. She shared her experiences growing up in the Mafia. She wrote about her experiences growing up in the Mafia.

Big Number

$8.1 billion Forbes has estimated that the Durst family is worth $8.1 billion. Durst sold his share in the company to his relatives in 2006 for $65 million. The Durst Organization portfolio contains iconic New York buildings such as The Bank of America Tower or One World Trade Center. Durst was to succeed his father, Seymour Durst (real estate tycoon), but he was replaced by Douglas in 1994, after Seymour's death. Durst was reputed to have displayed unusual behavior at the Durst Organization. Douglas, who testified that he was scared by his older brother and told the court he would like to kill me, participated in the Durst Organization trial.

Important Background

Durst denied murdering Berman and his wife. He pleaded not guilty to the charges and stated that he found Berman's body after Berman was killed. Later, Durst told officers that he fled the scene in order to avoid suspicion. He later lied about having sent an eerie note to Berman reading cadaver and Berman's address to anonymously alert him to Bermans body. Durst was linked to a series of murders and disappearances for many decades. This was documented in the hit HBO documentary, The Jinx: The Lives and Deaths Of Robert Durst. According to local media, Andrew Jarecki was there for the sentencing. Kathie Durst's wife went missing while she was reportedly contemplating divorce. According to her relatives, Durst was said to have abused her and that he was implicated in her disappearance. Durst was convicted of the murder of Morris Black, his elderly neighbor in Texas. Durst's legal team successfully argued that he shot Black in self-defense while fighting for a gun. Durst was sentenced for five years after he pleaded guilty to the dismembering of Black's body and skipping bail. This incident occurred in Galveston in Texas. Durst fled Galveston in 2000 to escape being interrogated about his wife's disappearance in 1982.

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Real Estate Scion Robert Durst Convicted Of Murdering His Best Friend (Forbes)