Robert Durst, the real estate heir whose complicated life—and the multiple suspicious deaths surrounding it—served as the subject of HBO’s 2015 docuseries The Jinx, has just been convicted of first-degree murder. A Los Angeles jury found Durst guilty today of the murder of author Susan Berman, who was found dead in her house on Christmas Eve in 2000. Durst was arrested for Berman’s murder just a day before the final episode of the HBO series—which highlighted new evidence in the Berman case, and includes an infamous sequence in which Durst, unaware he was still on microphone, rambles about possible involvement in the killings—aired.
The Susan Berman trial has been a long and involved one, having stretched from 2020 to today, and with years of delays occurring before that. It’s also Durst’s second such trial: He was previously acquitted for the murder of Texas resident Morris Black, who Durst claimed he killed in self-defense in 2001. (And then there’s the whole matter of the disappearance of his wife, Kathleen McCormack Durst, in 1982; there’s a reason Robert Durst has been an infamous figure for nearly 30 years at this point.) Much of the Berman trial centered on a letter that Durst is alleged to have written in December of 2000, which notified police of the writer’s death; although Durst previously denied writing said note (which was reportedly matched to his handwriting), his attorneys later conceded that he had written it, but claimed that it didn’t constitute proof that he had killed Berman—only that he knew there was a dead body in her house.
This argument does not appear to have ultimately held water with the jury, which deliberated for seven hours before handing down its verdict. Durst, who’s been residing in a Los Angeles County jail for most of the 6 years since his arrest, has suffered numerous health issues in recent years, most notably bladder and esophageal cancer.