2000 Murder Case Reopened After HBO's 'The Jinx' Airs
Less than a week away from the finale of HBO's engrossing true crime docuseries, The Jinx, a Los Angeles district attorney is reportedly reopening a murder case involving the series' main subject and prime suspect: Robert Durst.
The 71-year-old, New York real-estate mogul scion has been linked but never convicted for two murders, and the disappearance of his wife, Kathleen Durst, in 1982. Sources told The New York Times that investigators recently reopened one of those murder cases—the December 2000 death of Durst's close friend, Susan Berman, in Beverly Hills—and are hoping to connect the case to his missing wife.
Berman's grisly death has been shrouded in mystery for nearly 15 years—and is extensively covered in The Jinx through interviews with her friends and her stepson. Police found Berman, a former New York magazine writer and the daughter of a prominent mob boss, lying on the hardwood floor of her apartment on Benedict Canyon Road with a bullet wound to the back of her head on Christmas Eve in 2000.
Her murder was never solved, but new evidence unearthed by The Jinx's director Andrew Jarecki could very well strengthen the case that investigators are apparently looking into again. While Durst was a suspect in Berman's murder, police were never able to find evidence that could positively link him to it. Los Angeles and New York police knew Durst was in California around the time Berman was murdered.
What's chilling in this murder case is the series of clues that have led investigators to suspect Durst. Durst says in an interview in The Jinx that in 2000, police reopened his missing wife case. Berman and Durst hadn't been in contact for years, but Berman called Durst to tell him that Los Angeles police wanted to speak to her about Kathleen Durst, Durst says. Berman had been in financial trouble for some time, and after asking Durst for help, Durst wrote her a check for $50,000. Soon after, Berman was found dead.
After Berman died, an anonymous person sent Beverly Hills police a letter about a "cadaver" at Berman's home, and it was dated Dec. 23—the date police believed Berman was killed. In the letter, "Beverly" is mispelled as "Beverley," and the text is written in all block letters. In the fifth episode of The Jinx, Berman's stepson Sareb Kaufman, finds a letter that Durst wrote in 1999 with similar handwriting as the note police received. Even more unnerving is that "Beverly" is mispelled the same way as "Beverley" in this 1999 letter.
Vulture recently published a long article surrounding Berman's murder, and one of her friends who had last seen her alive, Rich Markey, a comedy producer in L.A., said: "She had her flaws. But her friends adored her. Everyone adored her — in spite of them, not because of them."
Here's photo of Berman and Durst together: