Jewish real estate heir Robert Durst to stand trial for murder


(JTA) — Robert Durst, the real estate heir who was implicated in the disappearance of three people, will stand trial for the alleged murder of a close friend in December 2000.

Durst, 75, pleaded guilty to a gun possession charge in Louisiana in 2016 as preparations were being made for a trial for the suspected murder of Susan Berman. Both are Jewish.

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Mark Windham ruled Thursday that prosecutors presented enough evidence during preliminary hearing testimony to warrant a jury trial, the New York Daily News reported.

Durst denies being involved in Berman’s death. Authorities believe that Durst shot Berman because of what she knew about his wife’s disappearance.

An heir to the Durst Organization, a large New York real estate company, he rose to national prominence shortly before his arrest during the airing of HBO’s documentary “The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst.” The six-part series explored Durst’s personal life and his connection to the disappearance or murder of Berman, his first wife, Kathleen, who went missing in 1982, and his former neighbor Morris Black.

Durst previously admitted killing and dismembering Black in Texas in 2001. He said it was self-defense and was acquitted by a jury.

He agreed to a plea in New Orleans Federal Court in 2016 that carried an 85-month term in a federal prison for illegally possessing a loaded .38 caliber revolver in a New Orleans hotel room, The New York Times reported. Under the deal, he was extradited to Los Angeles, where prosecutors prepared the case against him.

Recommended from JTA