Investigation Discovery’s ‘The Trials of Robert Durst’ examines the various cases in which the real-estate heir, Robert Durst, was caught up. Starting with his first wife’s disappearance in 1982, Robert has seemingly been at the center of many other death investigations, with his behavior during them only raising more questions. Recently convicted of killing his friend, Susan Berman, Robert has been suspected of killing his first wife. So, let’s find out more about Robert and where he is today, shall we?
What Happened at Robert Durst’s Trials?
Robert’s first wife, Kathleen McCormack Durst, suddenly vanished without a trace in 1982. She was last seen on January 31 that year at Gilberte Najamy’s home in Connecticut. Gilberte was a close friend of Kathleen’s. When questioned, Robert claimed that he put Kathleen on a train to Manhattan, New York, after an argument. He added that he spoke with her over the phone when she called from their apartment at around 11 PM that night. The investigation did reveal that Kathleen had wanted a divorce. There were also allegations of physical abuse leveled by Kathleen against Robert before her disappearance.
Robert reported her missing on February 5, 1982, after a call from the university where she was studying. The dean told him that someone claiming to be Kathleen called in saying she was sick and could not attend classes. The case didn’t go very far, and Kathleen’s body was never found. In late 2000, when Robert learned that the case was being investigated again, he moved to Galveston, Texas, and started living there under the disguise of a mute older woman.
Then, in December 2000, an anonymous letter pointed the authorities in Los Angeles, California, to Susan Berman’s home. She was a close friend of Robert’s. The letter mentioned the word “cadaver.” Susan was found shot to death execution-style. Robert was confirmed to have taken a flight from San Fransisco, California, to New York, on December 23, 2000, around the time of the murder. The authorities were scheduled to speak with Susan just days after she was murdered regarding Kathleen’s disappearance.
Then, in September 2001, Morris Black, a neighbor of Robert’s in Galveston, was found dismembered in the Galveston Bay. Evidence led the police to Robert, who was then arrested. While out on bail, he fled but was arrested again in Pennsylvania in November. At the time, he had guns as well as directions to the house of Gilberte. At Robert’s trial for the death of Morris Black, he testified that his neighbor grabbed a gun in his home, and while they struggled for it, the firearm went off, leading to Morris being shot in the head.
Robert stated that he panicked and dismembered the body, then dumping it off in the bay. The jury eventually found him not guilty of the murder in November 2003, believing his version of the events. Robert later pleaded guilty to bond jumping and evidence tampering, being sentenced to five years behind bars. Many years later, an HBO documentary called ‘The Jinx’ focused on Robert and the deaths that seemingly surrounded him. In it, he seemingly admitted to lying about talking to his wife on the night she disappeared.
Further evidence seemed to tie him to Susan’s death, with the handwriting on a letter that he had written to her earlier apparently matching the anonymous letter that alerted the authorities in 2000. Soon after the show aired, Robert was arrested in New Orleans in March 2015 for Susan’s murder. He was found with a lot of money, a latex mask, guns, and marijuana.
At Robert’s trial in 2020, evidence regarding the Morris case was allowed to be presented. The defense also admitted that Robert wrote the anonymous letter and had found Susan in a pool of blood inside her home. The prosecution claimed that Susan was the one who made the call to the university in 1982, and Robert killed her to cover his tracks when the case was reopened.
Where is Robert Durst Now?
There was further testimony from Robert’s friend, Nick Chavin. Nick stated that sometime in 2014, Robert asked to meet because he wanted to talk about Kathleen and Susan. When asked about Susan, Nick noted that Robert said, “It was her or me. I had no choice.” Another friend of Susan’s claimed that Susan called her after Kathleen’s disappearance, talking about a fight between Robert and Kathleen and an accident on the stairs.
In October 2021, Robert was found guilty of Susan’s murder with special circumstances of lying in wait and killing a witness. The 78-year-old was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Soon after the sentencing, Robert tested positive for COVID-19 and was reported to be on a ventilator. Kathleen’s family wanted to have her declared legally dead in 2016. In November 2021, the authorities charged Robert with second-degree murder in relation to Kathleen’s case.
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