The trial and tribulations of Robert Durst

Real estate scion Robert Durst is tried for one of the murders he is suspected of

Feb.February 01, 2020 01:00 PM

Nearly four decades after the suspicious disappearance of his first wife, New York real estate scion Robert Durst is scheduled to go on trial in Los Angeles this month. He is accused of the 2000 murder of a longtime friend shortly after he found out she had been contacted by investigators reopening the case of what happened to his wife.

Robert Durst’s first wife, Kathleen McCormack, unexpectedly showed up at a dinner party thrown by her friend Gilberte Najamy in Newtown, Connecticut, clearly upset and wearing red sweatpants. She left in a hurry after a call from her husband, and it was the last time she was seen by someone other than Durst…

Robert Durst’s longtime confidant Susan Berman, who supported his alibi for the night of his wife’s disappearance, was found dead in her home – murdered “execution style” – a few weeks after she told Durst that she had been contacted by detectives reopening his wife’s case. Days later, police received a cryptic letter postmarked the day of her murder with Susan Berman’s address and the word “cadaver.”


After skipping bail in Texas following his arrest on suspicion of murdering his Galveston neighbor, Robert Durst stalked his brother Douglas, allegedly with the intention of murdering the younger brother he had resented ever since Douglas was tapped to helm the family business. Robert Durst even brought a gun to his brother’s home in Katonah, NY, but left without incident after loitering in the driveway.


On trial for the murder and dismemberment of his elderly neighbor, Morris Black, Robert Durst testified that the 2001 killing was in self-defense, but that he decided to cut up Black’s body and dump the pieces in Galveston Bay because he panicked. He was acquitted.


While filming the Robert Durst documentary “The Jinx,” director Andrew Jarecki ambushed Douglas Durst at an awards gala held in the younger Durst’s honor. In a tense exchange that was included in the film, Jarecki pressed Durst for an interview, but was rebuffed.


2015: During an interview for “The Jinx,” Robert Durst said the “cadaver note” that pointed police to Berman’s body could only have been sent by his friend’s killer.

2019: In a surprise move before his trail for Berman’s murder, Robert Durst’s lawyers state that he did, in fact, write the infamous “cadaver note,” but maintained that he is nonetheless innocent of the killing.

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Stuart Elliott

Editor’s note: Déjà vu all over again

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