Robert Durst, the heir of a Manhattan real estate dynasty who was found guilty of one gruesome murder and suspected in two others, died in prison on Jan. 10, according to multiple news reports. He was 78.
Durst’s lawyer confirmed the news, telling ABC News his elderly client died from cardiac arrest stemming from numerous health problems while hospitalized in Stockton, California.
Durst was found guilty in Oct. 2021 of murdering his longtime friend Susan Berman by shooting her “execution style” in the back of the head at her home in Beverly Hills in 2000. Durst received a life sentence for the murder with no possibility of parole.
Durst was also charged in Nov. 2021 for the 1982 disappearance of his wife Kathleen McCormack Durst. Durst had been suspected in her disappearance for years and publicly accused by McCormack’s family, but had evaded charges up until then. While he denied the murder charges, he admitted to acting violent towards his wife on the night of her disappearance. McCormack’s body has never been found.
Federal prosecutors alleged in November that Durst murdered Berman because he feared she would tell authorities about his role in his wife’s disappearance.
In 2003, Durst stood trial for the murder of his neighbor, Morris Black. Durst admitted to killing and dismembering Black with a number of instruments but claimed he acted in self defense. Despite his admissions, a jury acquitted Durst.
Born in 1943 in Manhattan to the family of real estate developer Seymour Durst, Durst was the second generation to run his family’s real estate company, and oversaw the family’s towers throughout the Big Apple.
Durst’s behavior was often described as erratic and aggressive. He claimed to have witnessed the tragic death of his mother at a young age and was said to have tormented his siblings. His volatile behavior in the office, which included urinating in his brothers wastebasket led to him being removed as the head of the family business.
The mystery surrounding his wife’s disappearance made him fodder for the true crime genre, leading to a bombshell moment in 2015 that aired during the documentary The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst in which he was caught on a hot mic saying “What the hell did I do? Killed them all, of course.”
The final episode of the documentary featuring his utterance aired shortly after his arrest in 2015 for the murder of Berman. Footage from the documentary ended up being used during the trial, which began in the Spring of 2020 before taking a long break due to the coronavirus pandemic before Durst was found guilty in October.
Durst’s death at 78 means he will never have to stand trial for the disappearance of his wife.