Robert Durst, who was convicted for the murder of his friend Susan Berman and was the subject of HBO docuseries “The Jinx,” died Monday as a prisoner in Stockton, Calif. He was 78.
His lawyer Chip Lewis confirmed his death to the New York Times. Durst had been ill since contracting COVID in the fall of 2020. He died at San Joaquin General Hospital.
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Durst was convicted for the 2000 first degree murder of journalist and screenwriter Berman and was sentenced to life imprisonment in October, 2021. The Westchester County, N.Y. District Attorney’s office was also considering charges against Durst in the 1982 disappearance of his first wife, Kathleen McCormack Durst.
“The Jinx” docuseries drew wide attention when it concluded with Durst’s apparent confession, as Durst, under the impression that his mic was off, said: “I killed them all, of course.”
“The Jinx” director Andrew Jarecki first told Durst’s story in the 2010 docudrama “All Good Things,” starring Ryan Gosling as a character based on Durst. During the course of Jarecki’s research, Durst consented to be interviewed, and the interviews provided material for “The Jinx.”
Durst was not deemed eligible for parole, after it was established that Durst shot Berman due to fears of what she had learned regarding the disappearance of his wife.
Durst was the son of real estate magnate Seymour Durst and his wife Bernice Herstein. He attended Scarsdale High School in Scarsdale, N.Y. and earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pa. In 1965, he enrolled in a doctoral program at the University of California, Los Angeles, where he met Berman, but he eventually withdrew while also expressing no interest in working for his father at the Durst Organization. Instead, he opened a small health-food store, All Good Things, in Vermont, but the store later closed in 1973. Durst eventually returned to New York to work for his father but was denied the position to take over the organization in 1992, his brother Douglas being appointed instead. Consequently, Durst sued for his share of the family fortune and was bought out of the family trust for $65 million in 2006.
Durst was widely suspected of killing his neighbor Morris Black in Galveston, Texas, though he was acquitted in 2003. He was convicted of tampering with evidence for dismembering Black and dumping his body parts in Galveston Bay.
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