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Sunday, July 21, 2024 | Back issues
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Robert Durst Pleads |Guilty to Gun Charges

NEW ORLEANS (CN) - Real estate scion Robert Durst, long a suspect in several murders, pleaded guilty in New Orleans Federal Court on Wednesday to illegally possessing a .38-caliber revolver.

Durst, 72, appeared frail as he entered his guilty plea before U.S. District Judge Kurt Engelhardt, according published reports.

As a result of his plea deal, Engelhardt immediately sentenced him to 85 months in federal prison.

Prosecutor Michael McMahon called the seven-year sentence "a good result" and said Durst would now face extradition to Los Angeles where he will be face charges that he murdered a former confidante, Susan Berman.

In a statement, Durst's defense attorney Richard DeGuerin said his client "did not kill Susan Berman, does not know who did, and wants to prove it."

Durst, who is worth more than $100 million, is the oldest son of real estate Seymour Durst. He fell out from his family in 1994, after his father and uncle asked his brother Douglas to take over the family business.

But by that time Durst, who was the subject of the February 2015 documentary, "The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst," had been living what some would describe as a hair-raising life of mystery for decades.

Durst first wife, Kathleen, disappeared in 1982, and his in-laws claimed he killed her after she sought medical attention for domestic abuse and initiated divorce proceedings.

Kathleen's family members later sued Durst for $100 million, claiming he violated their right of sepulcher by withholding information on the whereabouts of Kathleen's body.

Durst provided an alibi during that investigation, which was supported by Berman, a magazine writer and the daughter of Las Vegas mobster Davie Berman.

The murder investigation was reopened in 2000 by Westchester prosecutors, after which Berman was found murdered execution-style in her Los Angeles home.

Durst has been suspected in the murders of several other people who were dismembered, bagged and tossed across the country, among them his elderly neighbor Morris Black.

He later admitted to dismembering Black's body and dumping it in the ocean, but he was acquitted via his claims that he had acted in self-defense.

At the end of taping "The Jinx," in which HBO documentarians interviewed Durst, he 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.

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

Durst was arrested in New Orleans last March. FBI agents found the .38-caliber revolver during a search of his Canal Street hotel room.

Durst's lawyers had tried unsuccessfully to suppress the evidence of the revolver, claiming the search was warrantless, but U.S. District Judge Helen Berrigan ruled that a gun was fair game in a search involving a murder suspect likely on the run.

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