- Title: "We were both rich" - Durst speaks about woman he's accused of killing
- Date: 10th August 2021
- Summary: INGLEWOOD, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES (AUGUST 09, 2021) (RTNA UNRESTRICTED POOL) WIDE OF ACCUSED MURDERER ROBERT DURST TESTIFYING IN COURT (SOUNDBITE) (English) ACCUSED MURDERER, ROBERT DURST, SAYING: "[Durst's defense attorney asks: "How did you feel that you and Susan had things in common?"] We were both rich. Susan had a trust fund that paid her twenty-five hundred dollars a month. Susan had a Mercedes Benz SL. That first night we met, when it got to be morning, she took me to her car and we drove to Ships restaurant in Westwood. And we pretty much talked until it was lunchtime." WIDE OF DURST TESTIFYING (SOUNDBITE) (English) ACCUSED MURDERER, ROBERT DURST, SAYING: "And, at some point, around 1969 or 1970, Susan decided that she wanted to write a book about her life story of growing up in Las Vegas. Her father's name was Davey Berman, who was a well-known associate of Bugsy Siegel. Bugsy Siegel, his right-hand man, he was called." (SOUNDBITE) (English) ACCUSED MURDERER, ROBERT DURST, SAYING: "So one weekend Stewart called me up and said that two cute girls had just moved into the building where he was renting an apartment. He brought them over to my apartment and we went out to dinner. One of them tells me, well, Kathy McCormack. Kathy McCormack and I got along very, very well." (SOUNDBITE) (English) ACCUSED MURDERER, ROBERT DURST, SAYING: "She was pretty and she was interesting, we could talk for a long time. We stayed up most of the night just talking to one another. She had just gotten out of high school and spent a year working for her research as a receptionist in a dental clinic." (SOUNDBITE) (English) ACCUSED MURDERER, ROBERT DURST, SAYING: "[Defense attorney says: "Tell the jury how your relationship with Kathy progressed."] Well, it progressed the usual way. [Defense attorney asks: Did you fall in love?"] Yeah, we were both in love. We both liked to be with each other." (SOUNDBITE) (English) ACCUSED MURDERER, ROBERT DURST, SAYING: "In 1971, we decided we would get married. My initial reaction, I wanted to make sure Kathy was aware that I did not want to have children." WIDE OF DURST TESTIFYING
- Embargoed: 24th August 2021 02:05
- Keywords: Los Angeles Robert Durst Susan Berman defence trial
- Location: INGLEWOOD, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES
- City: INGLEWOOD, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES
- Country: USA
- Topics: Crime/Law/Justice,Judicial Process/Court Cases/Court Decisions,United States
- Reuters ID: LVA001EPK83LZ
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:Multimillionaire and accused murderer Robert Durst, who denied he killed his long-time confidant Susan Berman on Monday (August 09), spoke about meeting Berman and his ex-wife, who is also suspected of killing, as he testified in his own defense at Los Angeles Superior Court.
Sitting in a wheelchair wearing an L.A. County jail uniform, Durst, 78, spoke in a voice weakened from surgery for esophageal cancer and sounded much differently than he did in 2015 in his apparent confession to multiple killings in the HBO television documentary series "The Jinx."
Asked what he had in common with Berman when they met, Durst said "we were both rich" and went on to describe their first meeting.
Durst also claimed that Berman's father had been a "well-known associate" of notorious gangster Bugsy Siegel.
Berman, 55, was found slain in her Beverly Hills home a couple of months after police in New York were reported to have reopened an investigation into the fate of Durst's wife, Kathleen, who was a medical student when she vanished in 1982.
Durst, the grandson of a Manhattan real estate magnate, is charged with the December 2000 murder of Berman, a writer he is accused of fatally shooting because of what she might have known about the unsolved disappearance and presumed killing of his wife Kathleen two decades earlier.
Durst also described instantly liking Kathleen when he met her in 1971. "We'd stay up most of the night, just talking to one another," Durst said, "we were both in love." Durst and McCormack were married in 1973.
Defendants rarely testify in their own defense as it exposes them to cross-examination by prosecutors. Durst's lawyers, who have sought to dismiss the case because of his poor health, are apparently trying to demonstrate his frailty to the jury.
The trial began in 2020 but was delayed a year by the coronavirus pandemic. Durst, who faces a maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted, spoke through a transparent face shield and others in court wore face masks.
The circumstances surrounding both cases, and Durst's 2003 acquittal in the killing and dismemberment of a neighbor in Texas, gained wide attention in "The Jinx."
After being confronted with a key piece of evidence, a microphone captured Durst muttering to himself:
"There it is, you're caught," and, "What the hell did I do? Killed them all, of course."
Durst was arrested on suspicion of Berman's murder one day before the airing of the final episode of the Emmy-winning series.
(Production: Ashraf Fahim)
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