Robert Durst dies age 78 four months after being sentenced to life in prison


Real estate scion Robert Durst dies in prison aged 78 – four months after being sentenced to life for killing his longtime confidante Susan Berman

  • Convicted killer Robert Durst died four months after being sentenced to life in prison for the execution-style killing of his longtime friend  Susan Berman


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Robert Durst, the convicted killer, real estate heir, and subject of HBO true crime documentary ‘The Jinx’ – has died at age 78 from complications of COVID-19 while serving a life sentence for murder at a Los Angeles correctional facility. 

He died just four months after being sentenced to life in prison for the execution-style killing of his longtime friend Susan Berman in 2000.

His lawyer Chip Lewis confirmed to the New York Times he died at San Joaquin General Hospital after going into cardiac arrest.

In December, he was seen looking frail and with a breathing tube in a mug shot released by the California Department of Corrections. 

Just months earlier, Durst – who has numerous medical issues, including contracting COVID-19 – was seen in a wheelchair throughout most his trial in California.

At his time of death, had been acquitted of butchering his neighbor in 2003, and charged by a grand jury over the mysterious disappearance of his first wife in 1982.  

Durst’s lawyers said he was suffering from a ‘myriad of life-threatening issues’ including bladder cancer last September. ‘His health deteriorated over the weeks of the trial,’ said his lawyer Dick DeGuerin. ‘He looked like death warmed over.’

In December, he was seen looking frail and with a breathing tube in a mug shot released by the California Department of Corrections

In December, he was seen looking frail and with a breathing tube in a mug shot released by the California Department of Corrections

In December, he was seen looking frail and with a breathing tube in a mug shot released by the California Department of Corrections

Last October, Durst was sentenced to life for the execution-style killing of his longtime friend and confidant, Susan Berman. Prosecutors alleged his motive was to prevent her from revealing what she knew about the vanishing of his wife, Kathleen McCormack Durst in 1982.    

Throughout his trial, his defense attempted to postpone his case due to ongoing health problems, including chest pains, breathing problems, pain while dressing and from having a catheter, and urinary tract infections due to his bladder cancer. 

Despite his slipping health, he was sentenced to life in prison without parole for the December 2000 murder of his best friend Susan Berman and was then indicted for the murder of his first wife Kathie Durst in 1982. 

His death leaves behind many unanswered questions surrounding Kathie’s unsolved case; and renewed public interest into the deluded misdeeds of one of America’s most bizarre killers.

Robert Durst, convicted murderer and subject of the HBO true crime doc, 'The Jinx,' died while serving a life sentence in prison. He was 78-years-old

Robert Durst, convicted murderer and subject of the HBO true crime doc, 'The Jinx,' died while serving a life sentence in prison. He was 78-years-old

Robert Durst, convicted murderer and subject of the HBO true crime doc, ‘The Jinx,’ died while serving a life sentence in prison. He was 78-years-old 

Durst, born on April 12, 1943, was the eldest son of a prominent New York real estate dynasty. His grandfather, the family patriarch, Joseph Durst, was a tailor from Poland who immigrated to New Yok in 1902 with $3 sewn into his lapel.

In a few short years, Joseph moved up from peddling children’s clothing on pushcarts to being a partner in a garment factory. 

He soon after expanded into real estate in 1915 with the purchase of his first building on 34th Street. He also founded Capital National Bank, which made loans to the garment district and was eventually sold – giving him seed money for his budding real-estate empire. 

Today, the Durst Organization is worth $8 billion with towering skyscrapers that dominate Manhattan’s iconic skyline. The family-run business owns more than 16 million square feet of real estate in New York City, including a 10% stake in One World Trade Center.  

Robert Durst’s childhood was marred by tragedy when he witnessed his mother, Bernice, commit suicide by jumping off the roof of their family home. (Family members would later claim that it was an accident and dispute that Robert was anywhere present at the time). 

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