US Tycoon Robert Durst To Stand Trial For Murder After TV Documentary About His Life

US Tycoon Robert Durst To Stand Trial For Murder After TV Documentary About His Life

A 75-year-old multimillionaire who was the subject of a TV documentary will stand trial for the murder of his longtime friend 18 years ago.

Robert Durst, who was the focus of HBO documentary The Jinx, was arrested in 2015 and charged with the murder of Susan Berman, his confidante who was shot dead in 2000.

The judge's ruling on Thursday was regularly interrupted by outbursts from Durst, who is the grandson of a wealthy New York real estate tycoon.

He has pleaded innocent to murdering Berman, and will be able to enter a plea at an arraignment hearing on 8 November.

Ms Berman, who was the daughter of a Las Vegas mobster, was shot in the back of the head at her home in Los Angeles.

Prosecutors have alleged that Durst killed her so she would not tell police what she knew about his wife's disappearance back in 1982.

Kathleen Durst is presumed dead. Her husband has never been charged with any crime related to her disappearance, and he also denies killing her.

He was arrested in New Orleans hours before the final episode of The Jinx: The Life And Deaths Of Robert Durst was aired. The programme looked at his wife's disappearance - as well as the deaths of Ms Berman and Morris Black, one of his neighbours, in 2001.

A jury acquitted Durst of Mr Black's murder after finding he was killed in self-defence - but he was convicted of dismembering him, and his head has never been found.

The HBO series caused a stir after he was heard during the finale muttering to himself on a live microphone: "You're caught! What the hell did I do? Killed them all, of course."

His lawyer, David Chesnoff, argued during several months of preliminary proceedings that there was no hard evidence, such as DNA, fingerprints or witnesses, linking him to Ms Berman's killing.

During the new trial, prosecutors will try to make the connection between Ms Berman's death and the mystery surrounding Mrs Durst's disappearance, which they will say is the foundation for a motive.

After Mrs Durst vanished, Ms Berman was Durst's unofficial spokeswoman, but prosecutors and witnesses in earlier hearings say she did much more.

Ms Berman told friends Durst acknowledged killing his wife and said she helped cover his tracks - something his lawyers staunchly deny.

One of her friends, who testified at an earlier hearing, said Ms Berman told them that if anything happened to her, Durst would have done it.

The Durst Organisation is one of New York City's oldest family-run real estate companies, owning more than 8.5 million sq ft of high-quality office space in Midtown Manhattan, and more than one million sq ft of luxury residential rentals.

Sky News

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