Robert Durst was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the 2000 execution-style killing of his best friend Susan Berman earlier this week

Advertisement
Robert Durst is sentenced on October 14, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. Durst was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole for the 2000 murder of Susan Berman.
Credit: Myung J. Chun-Pool/Getty

Robert Durst has been diagnosed with COVID-19 and is currently on a ventilator, according to his lawyer.

On Saturday, Durst's lead defense attorney, Dick DeGuerin, told The Los Angeles Times that his client has been hospitalized and placed on the breathing aid machine.

"We were notified he tested positive, so we're all very concerned," DeGuerin said in a statement to CNN.

Without confirming when Durst's positive diagnosis was made, DeGuerin also noted that Durst, 78, "looked horrible at sentencing," adding, "I was really concerned even back then because he was having difficulties breathing, he was having difficulties speaking, worse than he's ever looked."

DeGuerin did not provide any other details on Durst's condition, or where he currently is located. CNN added that the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department would not disclose information about Durst's health either, citing HIPAA laws.

Durst's positive COVID-19 diagnosis comes the same week that he was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the 2000 execution-style killing of his best friend, Susan Berman.

Last month, Durst was found guilty of first-degree murder, more than 20 years after Berman was found dead inside her Beverly Hills home.

Prosecutors said Durst killed Berman, a writer whose father was a Las Vegas mob boss, because she knew too much about the disappearance of his first wife Kathleen, who was last seen alive on January 31, 1982.

Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Click here to get breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases in the True Crime Newsletter.

Prosecutors alleged Berman was not Durst's only victim, saying he killed both Kathleen and Morris Black, his then-neighbor in Galveston, Texas. Durst was acquitted of Black's murder when he claimed self-defense, saying Black pointed a gun at him and that Black was killed during a struggle for the weapon.

The HBO documentary series The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst detailed the cases in 2015.

Durst's trial, which began in March 2020, was postponed during the COVID-19 pandemic and resumed again in May 2021. There was a brief pause in the trial in June because of Durst's ongoing health issues. His lawyers asked the judge for a mistrial because of his medical condition but the judge denied the request.