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Judge OKs Seven-Year Sentence for Robert Durst

NEW ORLEANS (CN) — New York real estate heir and murder suspect Robert Durst was sentenced Wednesday to seven years in prison on weapons charges that have kept him from facing a murder trial in California.

Judge Kurt Engelhardt approved the sentence of seven years and a month on Wednesday as part of a plea agreement after Durst, 73, pleaded guilty in New Orleans Federal Court to illegally possessing a .38-caliber revolver.

Durst, who is estimated to be worth more than $100 million, was also ordered to pay a $5,000 fine and a $100 special assessment.

FBI agents raided Durst's Canal Street hotel room in March 2015 on a warrant from Los Angeles, where they found the loaded Smith & Wesson revolver and more than five ounces of marijuana.

Durst faced a maximum sentence of 10 years and a $250,000 fine for illegally possessing the weapon after being convicted of a felony.

The multimillionaire black sheep of the affluent New York real estate family that operates 1 World Trade Center and other prominent Manhattan properties, Durst is charged in Los Angeles with the 2000 murder of his friend Susan Berman.

Prosecutors say Durst killed Berman, a writer and former Durst confidante, to keep her from talking about the 1982 disappearance of his first wife.

But attorneys have maintained that Durst is innocent, doesn't know who killed Berman, and is eager to face the murder charge in Los Angeles "to prove it."

In a motion filed Monday in New Orleans Federal Court, defense attorneys asked the judge to recommend that Durst serve his time at Terminal Island California, a medical care facility about 35 miles from downtown Los Angeles, "in light of the defendant's advanced age and serious health considerations."

"This will address not only his medical challenges but [will] be most efficient from the standpoint of transportation and the expenditure of resources," the April 25 motion states.

Durst's arrest last year at a New Orleans hotel played out in real time, just as viewers of the HBO documentary series "The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst" tuned-in for the final episode.

The six-part documentary series tells the story of three murders alleged to have been committed by Durst.

In 2003, Durst was acquitted by a Texas jury for the 2001 murder of his neighbor, Morris Black.

Durst admitted to shooting Black and dismembering his body, much of which washed up later inside trash bags in Galveston Bay, but said he did it in self defense, which a jury believed. Black's skull was never found.

At the end of taping for "The Jinx," Durst failed to turn off his wireless microphone and was recorded saying "What the hell did I do? Killed them all, of course."

Durst was charged with killing Berman shortly after the episode containing that quote aired.

Besides the revolver and marijuana, agents also discovered in Durst's hotel room a realistic mask and over $40,000 in cash.

He and his defense team continue to maintain that he is innocent.

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