Here's Strange 'Twist' in Robert Durst's Death

His conviction will likely be vacated
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 11, 2022 1:29 AM CST
Here's Strange 'Twist' in Robert Durst's Death
In March 17, 2015, file photo, New York real estate heir Robert Durst smiles as he is transported from Orleans Parish Criminal District Court to the Orleans Parish Prison after his arraignment on murder charges in New Orleans.   (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)

In what the New York Times calls a "bizarre legal twist," Robert Durst's murder conviction appears likely to be vacated since he died while an appeal was pending. The 78-year-old subject of the HBO documentary The Jinx was convicted in September of killing longtime friend Susan Berman in 2000, and sentenced to life behind bars. He had also been indicted for the murder of his first wife, Kathleen McCormack Durst, who vanished in 1982 and has since been declared legally dead; prosecutors said Berman had helped Durst cover up the crime and he killed her years later to stop her from talking to investigators about the murder. Now, the murder charge filed against Durst in New York in his first wife's death appears to be moot, the DA suggested after Durst's death, noting that she knew the news would be "upsetting" for Kathleen Durst's family.

In the Berman case, Durst's lawyers say they will file a motion with California's Court of Appeal asking for his conviction to be vacated. State law allows the court to dismiss the appeal and order the trial court to set aside the original conviction, and Durst's attorney tells People the conviction cannot be finalized until the court has ruled on the appeal, thus it will be canceled. The deputy DA who led the prosecution, however, says it's simply a technicality: "Bob Durst was convicted by a jury who came to the conclusion that he was responsible for the deaths of three people. His death in no way changes what happened. Bob Durst is a murderer and he died a murderer no matter what the status of his legal position." Durst had also been tried for the murder of a Texas neighbor, but he was acquitted after he claimed he had shot in self-defense. (More Robert Durst stories.)

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