Robert Durst Found Guilty of Susan Berman’s Murder

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Durst
Courtesy of Northwalker (Wikimedia Public Domain)

Robert Durst murdered Susan Berman on Christmas Eve in 2000 to keep her from telling the police about his wife, Kathy McCormack’s disappearance in New York in 1982. He was found guilty of Berman’s death on Sept. 17, 2021. However, the defendant was not in Los Angeles County Superior Court after news of this contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19.

The 78-year-old heir to one of Manhattan’s most famed real estate empires claimed that he flew to California in 2000 to spend time with Berman. He has a spare key to her Benedict Canyon home, so he let himself in.

Robert Durst testified that he saw Susan lying on the floor in a pool of blood, so he drove to a payphone on Sunset Boulevard. Since he was anxious that the police might recognize his voice, he decided to mail a letter to the Beverly Hills Police Department about a cadaver inside Berman’s house.

The prosecutors argued that he is the only person with a motive to kill Berman and get inside the house without a struggle, argued Deputy District Attorney Habib Balian.

Berman helped the defendant cover up the death of his wife for 19 years. Prosecutors argued that he killed his wife inside their South Salem home in Westchester County, New York, in 1982. The following day, a woman called the dean’s office at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, where McCormack was studying to be a doctor. The caller identified herself as McCormack and told the dean she was too ill to attend class. The prosecution argued that it was Berman.

Durst
Courtesy of Joe Gratz (Flickr Public Domain)

Over the span of three days, the jurors deliberated for just eight hours after a five-month trial, which included an 11-week presentation by the prosecution team and 15 days of testimony from Durst. It took the L.A. Country Prosecutors three weeks to convince the jury that Durst also killed his wife to prove their theory why he killed Berman.

While the trial centered around the murder of Berman, the probe focused on Durst’s life characterized by enormous wealth, strained family relationships, and patterns closest to him turning up either missing or dead.

Jurors in an Inglewood courtroom listened for hours of prosecution witnesses testimony and Durst’s recorded interviews with filmmakers, law enforcement, and Durst himself.

Written by Janet Grace Ortigas
Edited by Cathy Milne-Ware

Sources:

The Los Angeles Times: Robert Durst convicted of murdering Susan Berman; by Matthew Ormseth, James Queally
TMZ: ROBERT DURST  GUILTY!!! Of Murdering Susan Berman

Featured and Top Image by Northwalker Courtesy of Wikimedia – Creative Commons License
Inline Image Courtesy of Joe Gratz’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

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