LOS ANGELES (AP) — The bitterly fought homicide trial of Robert Durst stretched over the higher a part of two years. His sentencing will likely be comparatively temporary and will lack the fireworks that erupted between the lead prosecutor and protection lawyer.
The eccentric New York actual property inheritor faces a compulsory time period of life in jail with out parole Thursday for the first-degree homicide of his finest good friend, Susan Berman.
“Now that the jury has discovered whodunnit, the punishment is sort of clear,” Loyola Legislation College Professor Laurie Levenson mentioned. “I am unsure there’s much more left for (the prosecutor) to say.”
Durst, 78, was convicted final month in Los Angeles Superior Courtroom of taking pictures Berman point-blank behind the pinnacle in her Los Angeles dwelling simply earlier than Christmas 2000.
The trial started in March 2020 and was adjourned for 14 months because the coronavirus pandemic swept the U.S. and courts have been closed. It resumed in Might with the jury that reached its verdict Sept. 17.
Berman, the daughter of a Las Vegas mobster, was Durst’s longtime confidante who was getting ready to inform police she offered a phony alibi for him after his spouse vanished in New York in 1982.
Kathie Durst has by no means been discovered. Robert Durst has by no means been charged with a criminal offense associated to her disappearance.
However following his conviction in Berman’s dying, which relied on proof that he killed his spouse, a New York prosecutor is ready now to hunt prices in opposition to him in her dying, an individual conversant in the matter informed The Related Press on situation of anonymity.
Durst testified within the LA case, denying he killed his spouse or Berman, however he mentioned he’d lie if he had achieved so.
Kathie McCormack Durst’s household had hoped to current statements to the court docket Thursday about their loss, however prosecutors denied the request, based on emails despatched to their lawyer.
Lawyer Robert Abrams mentioned the McCormack household was disillusioned, and he was outraged. He mentioned relations wouldn’t attend the sentencing.
“The household isn’t going to go journey 3,000 miles to be a prop in some Hollywood manufacturing and sit there and never be capable to make their sufferer influence statements,” Abrams mentioned. “This isn’t some film the place it’s gross spectacle. That is their lives, they usually’ve suffered for 40 years.”
A spokesman for the district lawyer’s workplace didn’t return a message looking for remark.
Levenson mentioned it was questionable whether or not Kathie Durst was a sufferer within the Los Angeles case as a result of Robert Durst wasn’t charged along with her killing. Permitting her siblings to talk at sentencing would create one other problem for an enchantment.
Protection attorneys plan to argue for a brand new trial Thursday, saying there was inadequate proof to show the case and itemizing 15 methods the choose erred.
The movement is principally to protect points for enchantment and more likely to fail, Levenson mentioned, although a few of their claims might get the next court docket’s consideration.
The protection mentioned Choose Mark Windham ought to have declared a mistrial when the jury was despatched dwelling and the case adjourned. They mentioned the size of the delay was unprecedented.
Most of the different points revolve round admission of proof, reminiscent of permitting prosecutors to current testimony that Durst killed a neighbor in Galveston, Texas, in 2001 and chopped up his physique and tossed the components out to sea. Durst was acquitted of homicide after testifying that Morris Black pulled a gun on him and was killed in a wrestle for the weapon.
Additionally they objected to testimony and displays that confirmed when Durst was arrested in New Orleans in 2015, he had a masks, pretend identification, medication, $40,000 money and a loaded handgun in his resort room.
Additionally they objected to displaying jurors a characteristic movie based mostly on Durst’s life and the six-part documentary, “The Jinx: The Life and Crimes of Robert Durst.”
To restrict the variety of appellate points, prosecutors could also be extra restrained of their sentencing presentation, Levenson mentioned, notably when the jail time period is already set.
Deputy District Lawyer John Lewin was requested by a reporter after the conviction what he needed to say to Durst.
Lewin, who was aggressive and continuously scrapped with protection lawyer Dick DeGuerin over the six years it took from arrest to conviction, initially mentioned he did not have something to say to the person he had pursued for years.
Then he known as Durst a “narcissistic psychopath” who “killed his spouse and … needed to preserve killing to cowl it up.”
“He’s 78 years outdated. He’s been strolling round for a very long time,” Lewin mentioned. “He had much more of a life, , Kathie didn’t make 30. On steadiness, contemplating what he’s achieved, he bought much more of a life than he was entitled to.”
Related Press author Michael R. Sisak in New York contributed to this report.