LOS ANGELES – A Los Angeles jury began deliberating Tuesday on the lengthy murder trial of New York real estate heir Robert Durst after a prosecutor described him as a “narcissistic psychopath” who must be held accountable.
Assistant District Attorney John Lewin told Los Angeles County Superior Court jurors that Durst, a multimillionaire, had lived a privileged life in which he played by his own rules and cared only for himself. . Lewin said he didn’t kill for fun but to solve problems when he was stuck in a corner.
“Bob Durst is not crazy. He’s not some crazy serial killer who kills for fun, “Lewin said.” Don’t let this narcissistic psychopath get away with what he’s done.
Durst, 78, who was hunched over in a wheelchair in a light blue sports coat, pleaded not guilty to first degree murder in the point blank shooting of Susan Berman, his confidante.
Jurors deliberated about three hours before suspending for the day. They began hearing testimony in March 2020 before taking a 14-month hiatus during the pandemic. The case resumed in May.
Prosecutors said Durst killed Berman in December 2000 at her home when she planned to tell police about a bogus alibi she provided him when his wife went missing in New York City in 1982.
Lewin said Berman was killed because she was a witness. Prosecutors presented evidence of the alleged murder of Kathie Durst to provide his motive and also presented evidence from a trial in Galveston, Texas, where he was acquitted of the murder of a neighbor by gunshot.
Durst went into hiding in Texas in late 2000 to avoid what he believed to be impending New York charges when authorities reopened the investigation into his wife’s disappearance. He testified that Morris Black fired a gun at him in Durst’s apartment and was shot in the head during a gun fight.
The defense disputed the strength of the evidence presented by prosecutors, arguing that there was no evidence of Kathie Durst’s death and generally a lack of forensic and direct evidence in the case.
They said prosecutors had failed to prove Berman impersonated Kathie Durst to call ill at medical school she attended the day after her husband’s last visit. The call made it look like she was still alive after Robert Durst saw her.
“It’s all been that theory, but without meat to the bone, no proof,” defense attorney David Chesnoff said. “You know what I am telling you is real.”
Kathie Durst has never been found and no one has been charged for her disappearance.
Durst faces a life sentence if convicted.
The defense claimed prosecutors beat a defenseless “sick, old” man during nine days of brutal cross-examination in which Durst admitted to lying under oath and made numerous damning confessions.
Among other things, Durst said he didn’t kill Kathie Durst or Berman, but that he would be lying if he did.
“I just hope that when this is over you will let Mr. Durst be in a hospital of his choosing to live out his remaining time,” Chesnoff said.
Lewin countered that Durst was old and weak only because he had been able to live a full life, unlike his victims.
“He’s here, he’s old and he’s sick. He has to live until he’s old, ”Lewin said. “Kathie was never in her thirties. Susan Berman, her close friend, was horribly executed. Morris Black murdered and then dismembered.… He is lucky that he was able to live to be 78 and has the problems. health he has. Because his victims and their families do not have the same peace of mind. “