What happened to Robert Durst? The convicted killer died years before 'The Jinx' Part 2. (2024)

  • Real-estate heir Robert Durst was convicted of murder in 2021 and died the following year.
  • He'd been acquitted in a separate murder but inadvertently confessed during a 2015 HBO docuseries.
  • A second part of that series, called"The Jinx," premieres this weekend.

What happened to Robert Durst? The convicted killer died years before 'The Jinx' Part 2. (1)


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What happened to Robert Durst? The convicted killer died years before 'The Jinx' Part 2. (2)

What happened to Robert Durst? The convicted killer died years before 'The Jinx' Part 2. (3)


When "The Jinx" first aired on HBO in 2015, it was arguably the first major true-crime hit. The six-episode docuseries focused on Robert Durst, a real-estate heir who'd been accused of murdering three people.

Durst was suspected of killing his wife, Kathleen McCormack, who disappeared without a trace in 1982 and was never found. He was also a suspect in the execution-style 2000 killing of his longtime friend, 55-year-old Susan Berman, whom he'd met in college. Authorities believed he'd killed Berman because she knew he'd killed his wife. He'd also been arrested and indicted on the 2001 murder of his neighbor, Morris Black, after Black's body was found dismembered.

In 2003, Durst was acquitted of murdering Black after a high-profile trial; even though he admitted to killing Black and dismembering the body, he claimed he'd done it in self-defense. The shocking verdict was a major news item at the time, mentioned in everything from a Jon Stewart monologue to a "Saturday Night Live" skit.

Some 12 years after his acquittal, Durst, who was the son of New York real estate mogul Seymour Durst, participated in filmmaker Andrew Jarecki's Emmy-winning docuseries "The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst."

The series, which began filming in 2010, investigated the disappearance of McCormack in 1982 and the murders of Berman and Black, featuring re-enactments, archival footage, and interviews with Durst himself.

"The Jinx" wasn't just a hit TV show. It also sparked renewed interest in the three cases. Durst was finally indicted for Berman's murder.

What happened to Robert Durst? The convicted killer died years before 'The Jinx' Part 2. (4)

In the show's most infamous moment, in the final episode, Durst was seemingly caught on a hot mic confessing to the murders.

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The New York Times later reported in 2019 that "The Jinx" filmmakers had edited the recording to change the order of Durst's comments — "Killed them all, of course" was actually said before "What the hell did I do?" according to the transcript.)


But the show had uncovered other, more actionable evidence.

During its production, Berman's stepson found a letter written by Durst in 1999 in which "Beverley Hills" was misspelled in the same way it was in the anonymous letter written to police directing them to Berman's body. This, and the fact that the handwriting in Durst's letter appeared to match the handwriting in the letter to the police, seemingly implicated Durst in the murder.

The filmmakers turned over the letter to a cold case expert in the Los Angeles County District Attorney's office, the Berman case was reopened, and police arrested Durst on March 14, 2015 — just one day before the finale of "The Jinx" aired.

After 'The Jinx' ended, Durst was finally charged with Berman's murder and convicted in 2021

What happened to Robert Durst? The convicted killer died years before 'The Jinx' Part 2. (5)

"The Jinx — Part Two" follows the intermittent eight years between the first part's finale (and Durst's arrest) and now, chronicling authorities' continued investigation and Durst's lengthy journey to trial for Berman's murder.


Two days after his arrest, on March 16, 2015, Durst was officially charged with Berman's murder. In November 2016, he entered a not-guilty plea. After numerous pre-trial hearings, the judge ordered Durst to stand trial in October 2018.

Durst's trial didn't actually start until March 2020. But shortly after it began, it was put on hold due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. The trial finally resumed in May 2021. Prosecutors argued that Berman helped Durst cover up his first wife's death decades earlier and described it as a "witness killing."

Two months later, on September 17, 2021, Durst was finally convicted for Berman's murder and later sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. He was 78 at the time. Then, shortly after sentencing, his lawyer was hospitalized and put on a ventilator after contracting COVID-19.

Weeks later, Durst was also indicted in the 1982 murder of his wife. But that case never made it to trial because Durst died in January 2022. According to The New York Times, Durst went into cardiac arrest after being taken to San Joaquin General Hospital in Stockton, California, for testing.


"We understand that his death is due to natural causes associated with the litany of medical issues we had repeatedly reported to the court over the last few years," Chip Lewis, Durst's attorney, told Business Insider in a written statement at the time.

"The Jinx — Part Two" premieres Sunday at 10 p.m. ET on HBO and will be available to stream on Max, with new episodes airing weekly.

What happened to Robert Durst? The convicted killer died years before 'The Jinx' Part 2. (2024)


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