Robert Durst Pleads Guilty To Gun Charge, Accepts 7-Year Sentence
"What the hell did I do? Killed them all, of course."
These words, muttered by New York real estate heir and suspected serial killer Robert Durst in the finale of HBO's documentary series The Jinx, sent chills down the spines of viewers and put Durst back in the spotlight.
Now Durst, 72, could spend the next seven years in prison — but not for murder. He pleaded guilty to a weapons charge Wednesday in New Orleans and accepted a sentence of seven years and one month in prison. Durst is expected to go on trial on murder charges this summer in California.
Durst, whose life was the subject of the HBO series, pleaded guilty nearly a year after he was arrested in New Orleans for illegally carrying a .38-caliber revolver. U.S. District Judge Kurt Engelhardt said he would provisionally accept the plea and, The Associated Press reports, "make a final decision after he receives a pre-sentencing report expected in two weeks." The maximum penalty Durst could face is 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
As NPR has reported, Durst has waived extradition to Los Angeles to stand trial for the 2000 murder of his friend Susan Berman. Durst is suspected of killing her because he feared Berman could connect him to the disappearance of his first wife in 1982.
Durst's longtime lawyer — who successfully defended Durst in 2003 after his client admitted killing and dismembering a neighbor in self-defense — says the California case will be challenging.
"I've had a lot of hard cases. I enjoy hard cases. But, yes, this one is tough," attorney Dick DeGuerin said.
The Jinx brought renewed scrutiny to the deaths in which Durst was implicated. But The New York Times reports that more than two years have passed between when the filmmakers interviewed Durst and when they realized Durst's private muttering was caught on tape, and that it's unclear whether it will be admissible in court.
Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.