On Monday, Robert Durst, a 78-year-old former New York real estate heir who was convicted of one murder and suspected of several charges, died die to COVID-19. Durst had his last breath in Stockton, California, while serving a life sentence.
According to Durst's lawyer, Chip Lewis, he collapsed into cardiac arrest near the jail and couldn't be saved, told The New York Times. He'd contracted COVID-19; and last year, he was briefly placed on a ventilator, which exacerbated his pre-existing health issues.
Robert Durst dies at 78
Durst has been in prison since his arrest in 2015, and he was alienated from his family which owns some of New York City's most famous real estate. Due to the pandemic, Durst's trial was postponed, but he was found guilty in September of killing his acquaintance Susan Berman in the back of the head in 2000 out of concern that she would reveal evidence about his link to the murder of his first wife, Kathleen McCormack according to prosecutors. In October he was given the death penalty.
After apparently telling a friend she was terrified of Durst, McCormack vanished in February 1982. Her remains have never been discovered, thus she is assumed deceased. Durst was charged with her murder by a grand jury in November, but he died before he could be prosecuted. Berman had acted as a spokesperson for Durst, a college buddy, in the aftermath of McCormack's disappearance. She did, however, experience financial difficulties later on, according to Huff Post.
Berman was charged by a New York grand jury in November for second-degree murder in his wife's death after Los Angeles prosecutors demonstrated that the purpose in her death; she was silenced because she assisted him in the cover-up of Kathie's murder. "Although Robert Durst has passed away, the ongoing investigation into those who assisted him in covering up Kathie's murder.On the 40th anniversary of Kathie's murder, January 31, 2022, we will offer another update; in the meantime, please say a prayer for Kathie and his other victims." said an attorney for Kathie's family.
Murder case left hanging
Durst got away with murder in Texas, prosecutors said jurors, after shooting a guy who uncovered his identity when he was hiding out in Galveston following Berman's death. In 2003, Durst was acquitted of murder after testifying that he shot the man during a scuffle over a weapon.
Jurors informed Deputy Los Angeles District Attorney John Lewin after the verdict that they suspected Durst murdered Morris Black and his wife in Texas. In the six-part HBO documentary series "The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst," Durst examined the cases and made numerous incriminating admissions, including a surprising confession during an unguarded moment, ABC 7 reported.
The tortuous legal story of Robert Durst did not stop with his death. "A posthumous acquittal will be granted," his attorney, Chip Lewis, promised hours after the 78-year-old convicted murderer died. If the appellant dies before the higher court has an opportunity to uphold the conviction, the conviction is annulled in California and other jurisdictions.
However, Lewin emphasized that vacating Durst's conviction would not change the fact that jurors concluded Durst killed not just Berman in 2000, but also his wife Kathleen McCormack Durst in 1982 and a neighbor named Morris Black in 2001. He also stated that in Durst's case, an acquittal is not feasible since the real-estate heir cannot be tried again. Durst's death provided an opportunity for Lewin to think on the three victims whose lives were cut short, New York Post reported.