Support for LAist comes from
We Explain L.A.
Stay Connected

Share This

This is an archival story that predates current editorial management.

This archival content was written, edited, and published prior to LAist's acquisition by its current owner, Southern California Public Radio ("SCPR"). Content, such as language choice and subject matter, in archival articles therefore may not align with SCPR's current editorial standards. To learn more about those standards and why we make this distinction, please click here.

News

Robert Durst Pleads Not Guilty To Murder Charge In L.A. [Updated]

Before you read this story...
Dear reader, we're asking for your help to keep local reporting available for all. Your financial support keeps stories like this one free to read, instead of hidden behind paywalls. We believe when reliable local reporting is widely available, the entire community benefits. Thank you for investing in your neighborhood.

Updated [3:05]: Durst plead not guilty to charges that he killed his friend, Susan Berman, in 2000. "I do want to say here and now though I am not guilty," Durst said in court on Monday afternoon, reports the L.A. Times. "I did not kill Susan Berman."

Robert Durst, the infamous subject of The Jinx, will finally face trial for the death of his friend Susan Berman.

On Monday afternoon, Durst will be arraigned in a Los Angeles courtroom in connection with the death of Berman, reports the AP. Durst has long denied any connection to her death.

Durst, a real estate heir who was thrust into the public consciousness most recently by the 2015 HBO documentary miniseries The Jinx, has long been suspected in the deaths or disappearance of three different people over the last 24 years. In 1982, he was suspected but never charged in relation to the disappearance of his first wife Kathleen in New York. In 2000, his friend Susan Berman—who acted as Durst's unofficial spokesperson after Kathleen's disappearance—was found dead from a single gunshot wound in her Benedict Canyon home after police reopened the case into Kathleen's disappearance. And in 2001, Durst was charged with the death of his neighbor, Morris Black, in Texas. He was acquitted for the killing, claiming self-defense, and said he dismembered Black's body and threw the remains into Galveston Bay out of fear.

Support for LAist comes from

The mysterious circumstances surrounding these deaths and Durst himself became the subject of The Jinx. The series came to a shocking finale when a hot mic picked up Durst muttering to himself, "What the hell did I do? Killed them all, of course."

A week before the finale of The Jinx, the LAPD reopened their investigation into the death of Susan Berman. On The Jinx, filmmaker Andrew Jarecki uncovered a letter Durst sent to Berman before her death. It showed similarities to the anonymous letter that tipped authorities off to Berman's death, including the same misspelling of "Beverley."

Durst was arrested in New Orleans the day before the finale of The Jinx aired. He was in possession of a .38-caliber revolver at the time of this arrest and pled guilty to a gun charge—as a convicted felon, Durst was not allowed to carry firearms.

He was also formally charged by the Los Angeles County District Attorney for the murder of Susan Berman, and while it was originally reported the he is potentially facing the death penalty, prosecutors will not be seeking the death penalty, Nancy Dillon of the New York Daily News later noted:

According to the L.A. Times, prosecutors believe Durst killed Berman because she was a witness to the killing of Kathleen Durst.

On Friday, Durst was flown in from New Orleans and transferred to Los Angeles to face these charges.