A Los Angeles jury found Robert Durst, the notorious subject of the HBO series “The Jinx,” guilty of first-degree murder today for the execution-style killing of his best friend, Susan Berman, more than 20 years ago.
According to the verdict, Durst "intentionally discharged a handgun" and "caused great bodily injury and death to Susan Berman." Jurors also found true the special circumstance allegations that Durst killed Berman because she was a witness of a crime and he used a firearm in the murder.
“The jury’s decision demonstrates how our legal system can work to hold accountable people regardless of their wealth and status in life,” Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón said in a statement. “I want to commend our prosecution team and investigators for their diligent work to ultimately bring justice for those who have been waiting more than 20 years.”
Durst was charged with the first-degree murder of Berman in 2000 at her Beverly Hills home, hours before she was set to talk to investigators about the mysterious disappearance of his first wife, Kathleen McCormack Durst, who was last seen in 1982.
McCormack Durst was declared legally dead in 2017. Her body has not been found and no one has been charged in the case.
Durst, 78, was not in court to hear the verdict due to recent exposure to Covid-19. He currently remains in isolation after one of his drivers tested positive for the virus, Durst's attorney said.
After the verdict was read in court, jurors were polled individually and asked if they agreed with the verdict. They did.
The judge ordered that jurors' personal identifying information be sealed for privacy and safety. It is up to the jurors if they choose to discuss any deliberations or the verdict.
Judge Mark Windham later thanked the jury for their service, saying, "I'll miss you."
"I am so proud of this group," he told jurors. "This is a group that had no idea — no one had an idea that there would be a pandemic. You knew you were in for long service. No one knew that you would be in for, not only a trial as long as we anticipated, but a 14-month delay before we really got off the ground, so I am amazed and so proud of you for all coming back and then sticking with it."
The 15-week trial resumed last May after an unprecedented 14-month delay due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Durst's sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 18.