Robert Durst death updates – Cause of death revealed for murderer and real estate tycoon in HBO documentary The Jinx

CONVICTED murderer Robert Durst is dead at the age of 78 after he suffered a cardiac arrest while in prison.

The real estate tycoon was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole in October for the 2000 killing of his best friend, Susan Berman.

Durst was apparently in "very bad condition" at the time of his sentencing, according to his attorney Dick DeGuerin.

Durst was convicted of first-degree murder on September 17 for shooting Berman point-blank range in the back of the head inside her Beverly Hills home in December 2000.

At the time, Berman was about to tell cops how she helped cover up the alleged murder of his first wife Kathleen Durst.

Durst's first wife disappeared on January 31, 1982 at age 29. Her body has never been found. She was declared dead in 2017. 

Read our Robert Durst blog for the latest news and updates…

  • Caitlin Hornik

    What is The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst?

    The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst first aired in 2015 and can be watched on Netflix.

    The six-part series was directed by Andrew Jarecki and originally aired on HBO.

    Durst seemed to incriminate himself in the documentary series, a claim that his lawyers denied.

    He appeared to say, "What the hell did I do? Killed them all, of course," but his attorneys said the comments were edited.

  • Caitlin Hornik

    What did Durst admit to doing?, part three

    The note has also been a crucial part of the LAPD investigation for nearly two decades, reports the Los Angeles Times.

    In 2002, detectives obtained a handwriting sample from Durst under a judge’s order.

    He scribbled the words “BEVERLEY HILLS POLICE”, “1527 BENEDICT CANYON” and “CADAVER” for comparison with the text in the cadaver note.

    Durst, the eccentric estranged heir to a New York real estate fortune, was arrested for Susan's murder in 2015 on the day the last episode of The Jinx was aired.

  • Caitlin Hornik

    What did Durst admit to doing?, part two

    The note featured in a key moment of the 2015 HBO documentary about the case, The Jinx.

    Durst stormed out of an interview after being confronted with a letter he allegedly wrote to Susan in 1999 containing the same misspelling of “Beverley” as on the cadaver note.

    Unaware he was still being recorded in a restroom, he muttered: “What the hell did I do? Killed them all, of course.”

    Many viewers took that as a confession, although Durst continued to deny killing his friend or writing the note.

  • Caitlin Hornik

    What did Durst admit to doing?

    Durst admitted in court during his trial that he wrote the famous "cadaver note" directing police to the body of a friend he is now accused of killing.

    After lying about it for two decades, the real estate heir told his murder trial he sent the letter to police after finding Susan Berman dead at her home in Los Angeles in December 2000.

    Durst, 78, admitted he had lied about authoring the note – a crucial piece of evidence – because it made him look guilty.

  • Caitlin Hornik

    How did Robert Durst die?

    Robert Durst died on January 10, 2022.

    His lawyer wrote in a statement: "Mr. Durst passed away early this morning while in the custody of the California Department of Corrections.

    "We understand that his death was due to natural causes associated with the litany of medical issues."

    On October 16, 2021, Robert Durst's attorney confirmed he was COVID-19 positive, and in the hospital on a ventilator.

  • Caitlin Hornik

    What has Robert Durst said about Susan Berman’s death?, part three

    He said on Monday, August 16: "It’s a very difficult thing to believe.

    "I mean, I have difficulty believing it myself, that I would write the letter if I had not killed Susan Berman."

    This all came to a head during the filming of The Jinx when he was confronted about the misspelling of the word "Beverly" – which appeared in the "cadaver" note and in previous letters he wrote to Susan.

    Unaware he was still being recorded, he muttered the phrase "killed them all, of course,” which many have taken as a confession.

  • Caitlin Hornik

    What has Robert Durst said about Susan Berman’s death?, part two

    Durst said he checked Susan's pulse and lifted her off the floor before running to another room to call 911 but found the phone line wasn't working.

    He then left and tried to contact authorities from a pay phone on Sunset Boulevard, which is about two miles away.

    When an operator answered, Durst said he started to have reservations.

    He said: "I decided I did not want to give them my name.

    "I was aware that my voice is very recognizable even without a name."

    He said he instead opted to write what has come to be known as the cadaver note – a scrap of paper with Susan's address and the word "cadaver" that was mailed to the Beverly Hills Police Department.

    Under questioning, Durst admitted he had lied about authoring the note over the years, including during an interview for the HBO documentary The Jinx.

  • Caitlin Hornik

    What has Robert Durst said about Susan Berman's death?

    The 78-year-old told a LA courtroom in August 2021 that he entered Susan's house that Christmas Eve with a key she had mailed to him and found her bleeding on the floor.

    He said: "I did a double take. I saw Susan lying on the floor.

    "I shouted 'Susan!' a couple of times, then I quickly ran to the bedroom where she was. Her eyes were closed."

  • Caitlin Hornik

    What happened to Susan Berman?, continued

    At the time Durst vehemently denied allegations he murdered Susan but admitted to visiting her flat and finding her body and leaving the "cadaver" note for police.

    On September 17, 2021, Durst, 78, was then convicted of the first-degree murder for shooting Berman after taking the stand and admitting he wrote the damning anonymous "confession" about her death.

    Durst was sentenced to life in prison for the murder of Susan Berman on October 14, 2021.

  • Caitlin Hornik

    What happened to Susan Berman?

    Susan was found in her LA apartment on Christmas Eve in 2000, and was believed to have died a day earlier.

    Cops never found the murderer and suspected her long-time friend and real estate tycoon friend Robert Durst of foul play after he admitted to being one of the last people to see her before she died.

    In March 2015, Durst was then arrested in New Orleans and charged with first-degree murder in connection with Susan's death.

  • Caitlin Hornik

    Who was Susan Berman?, continued

    Later in life, she took up a career in journalism and wrote for a range of newspapers, including the San Francisco Examiner.

    In 1984, she married Christopher ("Mister") Margulies and was walked down the aisle by long-time friend Robert Durst. Marguiles died of a heroin overdose in 1986.

    Susan met Durst – who is suspected of killing his first wife Kathie McCormack in 1982 – while studying at UCLA in the late 1960s and the two kicked it off as friends.

  • Caitlin Hornik

    Who was Susan Berman?

    Susan was the daughter of Davie Berman, a Jewish-American organized crime figure who operated for notorious gangster Meyer Lanksy and the Genovese crime family in Minneapolis and Las Vegas.

    In 1981, she wrote East Street, which depicted her life as a mobster's daughter and was paid $350,000 for movie rights, though no film was ever made.

    Susan maintains her dad – who replaced murderous gangster Bugsy Siegel at the Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas – died under mysterious circumstances during an operation, though indications suggested he died of a heart attack. She was just 12 at the time.

  • Caitlin Hornik

    What happened to Kathleen McCormack?, continued

    On September 17, a frail Durst was convicted of the first-degree murder for shooting Berman at point-blank range in the back of the head inside her home in December 2000.

    Prosecutors say Berman was about to tell cops how she helped cover up the slaying of Kathie.

    Berman, the daughter of a Las Vegas mobster, was Durst's longtime confidante had informed friends she spared him a ticket to prison by providing a phony alibi soon after his wife's disappearance.

    Durst was portrayed during the trial as an elite and a narcissist who thought he was above the law.

  • Caitlin Hornik

    What happened to Kathleen McCormack?

    McCormack disappeared on January 31, 1982. She was 29 at the time. 

    Her body has never been found, as she was declared dead in 2017. 

    Durst has never been charged with Kathie's death and denies any knowledge about what happened to her.

    Some 18 years after Kathie vanished, Durst's longtime friend and confidante Berman was found murdered execution-style in her Los Angeles home. 

    Berman had served as Durst's unofficial spokesperson when his wife Kathie disappeared in 1982.

  • Caitlin Hornik

    Who was Robert Durst’s first wife Kathleen McCormack?, continued

    After just two dates, he invited McCormack to share his home in Vermont, where he had opened a health food store.

    She moved there in January 1972.

    But Durst's father pressured him to move back to New York to work in the family business.

    So they returned to Manhattan and married on April 12, 1973.

  • Caitlin Hornik

    Who was Robert Durst's first wife Kathleen McCormack? 

    On October 19, 2021, Robert Durst was charged with the murder of Kathleen Durst.

    The Westchester District Attorney's office confirmed "that a complaint charging Robert Durst with the murder of Kathleen Durst was filed in Lewisboro Town Court on October 19, 2021" however, no further comments have been made at the time.

    In the fall of 1971, Durst met Kathleen McCormack, a medical student in her final year.

  • Caitlin Hornik

    How long have Robert Durst and Debrah Lee Charatan been together?, continued

    She supported Durst during his 2003 trial for allegedly murdering his elderly neighbor, Morris Black, who was found floating in Galveston Bay, Texas, in 2001. 

    The jury acquitted him because of a lack of forensic evidence.

    According to reports, Charatan has not spoken to Durst since 2015 after the HBO documentary The Jinx aired.

    The miniseries outlined the life of real estate scion Durst and his possible involvement in multiple murders.

    On January 10, 2022 Robert Durst passed away due to a cardiac arrest he suffered from in Prison.

  • Caitlin Hornik

    How long have Robert Durst and Debrah Lee Charatan been together? 

    The husband and wife first met each other in the late 1980s, and they reportedly dated for about two years.

    They married in December 2000 in what was widely described as a secret marriage.

  • Caitlin Hornik

    Who is Robert Durst’s wife Debrah Lee Charatan?

    Born and raised in New York City, Charatan is a 64-year-old real estate broker.

    Charatan now is said to head BCB Property Management with her son from a previous marriage, Bennat Berger. 

    According to her website, she operates in Manhattan and Brooklyn.

    It is understood that Durst and Charatan did not have children together. 

  • Caitlin Hornik

    Was Robert Durst COVID-19 positive?

    On October 16, 2021, Robert Durst's attorney confirmed he is currently in the hospital with COVID-19.

    LA Times reporter James Queally tweeted: "BREAKING: Robert Durst has tested positive for COVID-19 and is currently on a ventilator, his attorney confirms. Story soon @latimes".

    Less than three months later, Durst died at the age of 78 on January 10, 2022. He suffered a cardiac arrest while in prison.

  • Caitlin Hornik

    Did Robert Durst’s family assist him in the murders?, continued

    The Durst family spoke out about the claims targeting attorney Robert Adams who represents Kathie's family.

    “Mr. Abrams is a member of the cottage industry that seeks to personally profit off of Robert’s victims, even if it involves disrupting the prosecution of the murder of Susan Berman,” said Jason Barowitz, a spokesperson for the family.

    He continued, "The truth is that the Durst family is appalled by Robert’s actions and has cooperated with authorities to help ensure justice is served. These allegations are false and have been repeatedly debunked.” 

  • Caitlin Hornik

    Did Robert Durst's family assist him in the murders?

    Real estate heir Durst's father and brother have been accused of assisting in the murder of his wife Kathie who went missing in 1982.

    These claims arise again as part of Durst's trial in the murder of long-time confidant, Berman, which just resumed after a 14-month delay due to the coronavirus.

    Law and Crime executive producer Cathy Russon tweeted "Attorneys representing Kathleen Durst’s family say #RobertDurst brother Douglas & father Seymore aided in the cover-up of Kathleen’s disappearance and murder."

  • Caitlin Hornik

    What is Robert Durst's net worth?

    According to Celebrity Net Worth, Durst is worth $65million.

    Durst is the son of New York real estate mogul Seymour Durst and he is the brother of commercial developer Douglas Durst.

    Robert graduated from Lehigh University and became a real estate developer. 

  • Caitlin Hornik

    What was the verdict of Robert Durst’s trial?, continued

    In closing arguments, Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney John Lewin told jurors they had to hold the 78-year-old Durst accountable for Berman's slaying.

    “Bob Durst is not crazy. He’s not some nut job serial killer who goes around killing for the thrill of it,” Lewin said.

    “Don’t let this narcissistic psychopath get away with what he’s done.”

    On October 14, 2021, it was reported that Durst will get life in prison for the murder of Berman.

    Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Mark Windham denied a defense request for a new trial, but Durst's lawyers said they plan to appeal.

  • Caitlin Hornik

    What was the verdict of Robert Durst's trial?

    On Friday, September 17, a Los Angeles jury convicted Durst of gunning down Berman, a killing authorities believe was connected to his missing wife.

    The panel had been deliberating since September 14 when it came back with the guilty verdict for first-degree murder in the slaying of Berman.

    Prosecutors said Berman had been scheduled to speak to police about a fake alibi she allegedly gave Durst when his wife disappeared in New York in 1982.

    Durst's wife, Kathie, has never been found and no charges have ever been brought in connection with her disappearance.

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