BENEDICT CANYON—On Friday, May 22, it was announced by the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office that the Robert Durst murder trial is expected to move to an Inglewood courthouse. The proceedings previously took place at a Los Angeles courthouse near LAX.
Robert Alan Durst, 77, is a billionaire real estate heir, who became a developer under his father, Seymour Durst’s business. Durst is on trial for the alleged murder of his longtime friend Susan Berman. On December 24, 2000, Berman was shot and killed in Benedict Canyon, California. In 2015, Durst was the subject of the HBO documentary “The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst.” The filmmakers provided new evidence that led to Durst being charged with Berman’s murder. The documentary ended with Durst mumbling to himself, with a microphone on, “What the hell did I do? Killed them all, of course.”
Prosecutors claim that Durst shot Berman after she discovered that he killed his wife, Kathleen McCormack Durst. Durst has not been charged for the murder of Kathleen, who disappeared in 1982. He denied accusations levied against him and after her disappearance, Durst divorced her on the grounds of spousal abandonment.
After Berman’s death, Durst moved to Galveston, Texas. He dressed in drag and went by the alias of Dorothy Ciner, a mute woman. He was caught and arrested for the murder of his neighbor, Morris Black, in 2001. During the 2003 trial, he admitted to the dismemberment of Black, as well as throwing his remains in the Galveston Bay. The verdict ruled that the murder was an act of self-defense and caused by Durst’s alleged Asperger’s disorder. After serving less than three years in prison, he was let out on parole.
The ongoing five-year trial for the murder of Berman was placed on hold because of the COVID-19 outbreak. Durst’s attorneys filed the motion for change to a new location to accommodate social distancing rules at a larger courthouse. The motion argued that the delay has “made it impossible for [Durst] to receive a fair trial.” The prosecution has requested witness testimonies to be conducted via a virtual medium like Zoom or Skype. Durst’s attorneys insisted it be “rejected as violative of the defendant’s Constitutional rights…”