Robert Durst’s murder trial restarts after year-long delay

Real estate heir is accused of murdering Susan Berman two decades ago

Los Angeles /
May.May 19, 2021 10:00 AM
Robert Durst in court on May 18, 2021 (Getty)
Robert Durst in court on May 18, 2021 (Getty)

Prosecutors and defense attorneys in the murder trial of real estate heir Robert Durst reprised their opening statements to jurors on Tuesday.

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Mark Windham gave attorneys a second chance because it has been more than a year since the trial was suspended because of the pandemic, according to the L.A. Times.

Durst is charged with the 2000 murder of his friend Susan Berman at her Benedict Canyon home. Prosecutors allege he shot and killed her because he feared she would implicate him in the alleged murder of his wife Kathleen Durst in 1982.

Deputy District Attorney John Lewin said in his opening statement that Berman had no reason to fear her friend, so she let him into her home in December 2000.

“She turned around, she took a few steps, and he basically blew her brains out,” Lewin said.

The trial has been in limbo since last March. Windham denied the defense’s request for a mistrial last year and again earlier this year. Ten witnesses testified at the trial early last year before it was suspended.

“This is, without question, a new experience for everybody,” Lewin said, according to the Commercial Observer. “I have never given an opening statement in the same case twice.”

Durst’s grandfather Joseph Durst founded the Durst Organization in 1915. The prominent development firm is one of the oldest family-run developers in the country.

His brother Douglas Durst is the chairman of the company and is a witness for the prosecution. Robert Durst is not part of the firm’s operations but is an heir to the Durst real estate fortune.

[LAT] [CO] — Dennis Lynch 


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