Convicted murderer Robert Durst diagnosed with COVID-19, attorney says
Written by ABC News on October 16, 2021
(LOS ANGELES) — Robert Durst has been diagnosed with COVID-19, his attorney confirmed Saturday, two days after the real estate heir was sentenced to life in prison on a first-degree murder conviction.
Durst, 78, was sentenced Thursday in Los Angeles Superior Court to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the 2000 killing of Susan Berman, his close confidant. The wheelchair-bound Durst appeared in the courtroom for his sentencing, looking frail and wearing a face mask.
His attorney, Dick DeGuerin, did not share any additional details on Durst’s condition.
The high-profile trial has been plagued by a series of delays due to the pandemic. After two days of testimony, the trial was delayed for 14 months after the coronavirus shuttered courts, with testimony resuming in May.
In August, testimony was briefly paused again after a courtroom observer tested positive for COVID-19. There was another holdup in June, when Durst was hospitalized for an unspecified health issue.
Durst did not appear in the courtroom when the verdict was announced in September because he was in quarantine after being exposed to COVID-19 by one of his sheriff drivers. Jurors found him guilty after deliberating for about seven hours over three days.
The New York real estate scion was accused of killing his best friend, Berman, who was shot in the back of the head in her Los Angeles home in 2000. Prosecutors alleged Durst killed Berman to prevent her from telling police she helped him cover up the unsolved murder of his wife, Kathleen Durst, in 1982. Durst has never been charged in his wife’s disappearance.
Durst pleaded not guilty in 2018 to the murder charge for Berman’s death. His attorneys have unsuccessfully sought a mistrial, arguing the lengthy delay impeded his chances of a fair trial.
Durst was also charged in the 2001 killing of a neighbor in Galveston, Texas. He claimed self-defense and was acquitted.
ABC News’ Cassidy Gard contributed to this report.
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