Real estate heir, convicted killer Robert Durst dead at 78

Robert Durst, the convicted killer and real estate heir, has died at the age of 78, The New York Times reported.

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Durst was housed at the California Health Care Facility, a prison in Stockton, serving a life sentence after being convicted of one murder and suspected in two others over four decades, the Times reported.

He died at San Joaquin General Hospital after going in for testing and where he went into cardiac arrest, his lawyers said.

Durst was convicted in September of the murder of a friend, Susan Berman. He had tested positive for COVID-19 after his conviction and was placed on a ventilator for a short time. His lawyers said the ventilator made his other medical conditions worse, but said Monday shortly after his death that Durst died of natural causes, the Times reported.

While Durst was convicted in 2021 for the death of Berman in 2000, he was also indicted in the death of his first wife, Kathie McCormack Durst, who disappeared in 1982 and was eventually declared legally dead. The second-degree murder indictment was handed down in November in Westchester County, New York, The Associated Press reported.

At the time of her death, Berman was preparing to tell police about her role in Kathie McCormack Durst’s death, claiming that she had told friends that she had given a fake alibi for the time of Robert Durst’s wife’s disappearance, the AP reported.

Robert Durst went on the run and disguised himself as a mute woman, living in an apartment in Texas. During that time officials said he killed neighbor Morris Black and cut his body up, throwing his remains into the sea. Robert Durst said he and Black fought for control of a gun. He was acquitted of the man’s death, but pleaded guilty to destroying evidence for getting rid of the body, the AP reported.

Prosecutors claimed that Robert Durst killed Black because he found out Robert Durst’s identity, the AP reported.

Black’s death was discovered when his body parts washed up in Galveston Bay in 2001, the AP reported.

He was also sentenced to more than seven years in prison for a 2015 weapons charge in New Orleans.

The Durst family owns more than 16 million square feet of real estate in New York and Philadelphia.

His story had been the focus of the 2015 HBO documentary “The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst.”

Robert Durst earned an economics degree at Lehigh University. He also went to the University of California, Los Angeles for a doctoral program, but dropped out. He eventually became a developer in the family business, but his father, Seymour Durst, passed over him as the head of the company, instead choosing Robert Durst’s younger brother Douglas Durst as the head of the Durst Organization in 1992, the AP reported.

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