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Robert Durst, the real estate heir who has been linked to three deaths, testified at the murder trial for his best friend’s killing that he lied about his wife’s 1982 disappearance.
Durst, 78, is currently on trial for the 2000 murder of Susan Berman. Prosecutors say he shot her execution-style because she had information about the disappearance of Durst's first wife, Kathleen McCormack Durst. Kathleen’s body was never found but she was declared legally dead in 2017.
Durst testified on Wednesday that he changed his mind so many times over the years about whether or not he actually saw Kathie get into a commuter train bound for Manhattan the night she vanished, the Associated Press reports.
“Did I actually see Kathie walk through the doors and onto the train? The answer is no. But there is no place else to go.”
He also admitted that he lied to police when he told them he later spoke to her on the phone from her apartment in Manhattan.
“That was a lie,” Durst testified. “I wanted to convince him that Kathie had gotten back.”
Durst also confessed lying about that detail in the 2015 HBO docuseries "The Jinx." He noted in that series that he lied because he wanted the cops to leave him alone.
Durst has never been charged with Kathleen’s death and he has long denied having anything to do with her disappearance. Prosecutors have been allowed to present evidence during the Berman trial that they say prove that Durst killed Kathleen, according to the Associated Press. They allege he then murdered his confidante Berman because she was about to divulge what she knew about the killing.
In court, Durst said that his former wife both fabricated and exaggerated stories about him abusing her, claiming that someone “had convinced Kathie that if she could show I was physically abusing her, she would get a bigger part of the settlement if we got divorced,” according to the Associated Press.
On Monday, Durst took the stand for the first time in his trial to deny killing Berman. This week marks the 11th week of the trial. While it began in March of 2020, it was postponed for 14 months due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The prosecution rested its case last week. Before doing so, they put Durst’s younger brother on the stand who testified that he feared Durst wanted to kill him.
Less than a year after Berman's murder, Durst shot his neighbor Morris Black to death in Texas before disposing of his dismembered remains in Galveston Bay. Durst claimed he shot Black in self-defense and he was acquitted of murder in 2003. He pleaded guilty to tampering with evidence and bail jumping a year later and was sentenced to five years with credit for time served. He was paroled in 2005.
In 2015, he was arrested in connection with Berman's death, just one day before the finale of "The Jinx" aired. The docueries captured Durst on a hot mic while using the bathroom after a heated interview with the filmmaker.
He mumbled to himself that he was “caught” and that he was having difficulty with the questions. He said the phrases “Killed them all, of course” and "What the hell did I do?” That audio played in its entirety for jurors in 2020 before COVID postponed the trial.
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