A judge in Los Angeles has sentenced New York real estate heir Robert Durst to life in prison without parole for the murder of his best friend.
LA Superior Court Judge Mark Windham handed down the punishment on Oct. 14, a month after jurors convicted Durst, 78, of first-degree murder for shooting Susan Berman at the back of her head inside her Beverly Hills home on Dec. 23, 2000.
At that time, Berman was set to talk to investigators about the mysterious disappearance of Windham’s first wife Kathkeen McCormack, who was last seen in 1982 and was declared legally dead in 2017.
Windham described the murder “a horrific crime” and “a denial of justice to the McCormack family.”
Windham also denied a motion for a new trial filed by Durst’s defense team due to “overwhelming evidence of guilt.”
During the months-long trial, Durst denied killing Berman, but he testified under cross-examination that he perjured himself five times during the trial.
Durst’s long-time friend Nick Chavin also told the court that Durst said, “It was her or me. I had no choice.”
Prosecutor Habib Balian said, “Those nine words sum up the entire case.”
Durst’s life story inspired the 2015 HBO docuseries “The Jinx,” where he appeared to confess to the killings at the final moments of the show.
“You’re caught! What the hell did I do? Killed them all, of course,” Durst said when he went to the bathroom while still wearing a hot microphone.
Durst also faced a murder trial in 2003 when he told police that he killed and dismembered Morris Black, his neighbor in Galveston, Texas, two years earlier. He claimed self-defense and was acquitted.
During his time in Galveston, he posed as a mute woman under the name Dorothy Ciner.
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