Robert Durst’s Murder Trial Set for September in Los Angeles

Prosecutors say subject of HBO’s “The Jinx” docuseries killed a longtime friend in 2000 to conceal the disappearance of his wife

robert durst arraignment los angeles
Pamela Chelin

Robert Durst, real estate heir and subject of HBO’s “The Jinx” documentary miniseries, will stand trial for the murder of his longtime friend Susan Berman on Sept. 3, a judge announced during a court hearing on Tuesday.

Prosecutors claim Durst shot Berman in the back of the head on Christmas Eve 2000 to keep her quiet about the 1982 disappearance of his first wife, Kathleen McCormack Durst. Her body has never been recovered.

Durst was arrested in New Orleans on March 14, 2015 in connection with Berman’s death. His arrest came one day before the finale of HBO’s “The Jinx,” which chronicled Durst’s life and the death of three people close to him — his first wife, Berman and a neighbor in Galveston, Texas.

The final episode shocked viewers when Durst, wearing a hot microphone, was heard saying “There it is. You’re caught! What the hell did I do? Killed them all, of course,” while in the bathroom.

Durst has plead not guilty to killing Berman.

Durst fled to Galveston in late 2000 after the investigation into the death of his first wife was reopened. While disguised as an old woman and living in a small apartment, he was charged with the murder of his neighbor, Morris Black; Durst, who argued he killed and dismembered Black in self defense, was acquitted of murder in 2003.

In a blow to Durst’s defense team on Tuesday, the judge ruled the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office was allowed to present evidence from his previous murder trial. Durst’s legal team had pushed to keep any evidence from the Texas trial out of his upcoming murder trial.

Dick DeGuerin, Durst’s longtime attorney, told TheWrap the ruling will add “at least a month” to the trial, which he now expects to run about three months.

“We’re going to have to defend him from the allegations in Galveston all over again. It’s Galveston redux,” DeGuerin said. “Bob Durst didn’t kill Susan Berman and he doesn’t know who did. At least what we’ll do is put a finality to the suspicion that he’s been under for 30 years. So we’re looking forward to the trial.”