NY Real Estate Heir, Convicted Killer Robert Durst Dies in Prison

By City News Service
City News Service
City News Service
January 10, 2022 Updated: January 10, 2022

LOS ANGELES—New York real estate heir Robert Durst, who was sentenced to life in prison without parole for killing a friend in her Benedict Canyon home, died Jan. 10 in prison.

According to Chip Lewis, one of his attorneys, the 78-year-old Durst died of “natural causes associated with the litany of medical issues we had repeatedly reported to the court over the last couple of years.”

Lewis said attorneys would have no further statements about Durst’s death.

Durst was convicted Sept. 17 of first-degree murder for shooting Susan Berman in her home in December 2000. Prosecutors said Durst killed Berman to prevent her from incriminating him in a renewed police investigation into the disappearance of his first wife, Kathie Durst, in 1982.

Durst was the grandson of Joseph Durst, founder of the Durst Organization, one of Manhattan’s largest commercial real estate firms.

Prosecutors estimate that Robert Durst’s share of the family fortune was $100 million.

Kathie Durst was 29 when she disappeared on Jan. 31, 1982. Her body was never found and she was declared legally dead, at her family’s request, in 2017. Robert Durst divorced Kathie Durst in 1990 citing abandonment.

He was never charged in her disappearance despite a number of efforts to close the case. Investigators reopened the case in 1999, searching a lake and the couple’s home. During his Los Angeles murder trial, Durst repeated denied having any involvement in his wife’s disappearance and presumed death.

Durst has been behind bars since March 14, 2015, when he was taken into custody in a New Orleans hotel room hours before the airing of the final episode of the six-part HBO documentary series “The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst,” which examined the disappearance of Kathie Durst and the shooting deaths of Berman and Morris Black, Durst’s then-neighbor in Texas in late 1982.

Durst was tried for Black’s killing and dismemberment, but he was acquitted, arguing that the gun went off accidentally during a struggle.

Prosecutors in that case also alleged that Black had figured out Durst’s true identity. Durst was in hiding at the time.