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Jury Will Soon Deliberate On Robert Durst's Fate In Murder Trial

Robert Durst is on trial for the 2000 murder of his friend and confidant Susan Berman, who prosecutors allege he killed in order to cover up his involvement in his wife Kathleen McCormack's disappearance 18 years earlier.

By Gina Tron
Robert Durst Ap

A Los Angeles jury will soon begin their deliberations to determine if Robert Durst is guilty of killing his friend and confidante Susan Berman more than two decades ago.

The jury is expected to begin deliberating the real estate heir’s case on Tuesday, CNN reports. In their closing statements Monday, Durst’s lawyers Dick DeGuerin and David Chesnoff argued that the prosecution failed to prove that Durst killed Berman in 2000.

Prosecutors allege Durst shot Berman, daughter of organized crime figure David Berman, execution-style because she had information about the 1982 disappearance of Durst's wife Kathleen “Kathie” McCormack. While the trial is only for the murder of Berman, the presumed murder of McCormack remained a pivotal part of the case as prosecutors pointed to it as the catalyst for two other deaths Durst is linked to. In 2000, months after Berman's death, Durst was hiding out in Galveston, Texas, posing as a mute woman. He ended up killing neighbor Morris Black, with prosecutors alleging it was because Black had found out Durst's identity. While he admitted to dismembering Black and discarding his remains, he claimed he shot him in self-defense. He was acquitted of his murder in 2003.

As the prosecution rested its case last week, prosecutor Habib Balian told the jurors that Durst had "gotten away with murder for a long time. It’s time for that to end."

He also questioned the credibility of Durst, who was on the witness stand for a whopping 15 days, likening his testimony to cockroach soup. 

While Durst has insisted his testimony had been truthful, he did acknowledge previous fabrications. He admitted that he did lie to police in 1982 about his wife Kathleen calling him from her apartment in Manhattan the night she was last seen alive — a fact which, if true, would have established that Kathleen had arrived safely in New York City after leaving the couple's Westchester home. He said the lie was meant to get detectives off his back.

Furthermore, Durst admitted on the stand to lying in the past about the so-called "cadaver note" written to the police to alert them to Berman’s body. He'd denied writing it in the past, including famously to filmmakers of the 2015 HBO docuseries “The Jinx,” but said on the stand that he was the penman. He said he wrote it out of panic after discovering Berman's dead body, believing that if he had simply called authorities, they would recognize his voice and think he was responsible.

Durst's lawyers played down the prosecution's case.

“Fortunately for Mr. Durst, they failed to deliver the required evidence to support their script/theory,” Chip Lewis, one of his lawyers, said last week. “In our beautiful country, we do not convict folks based on made-for-TV-movies.”