Convicted murderer Robert Durst has been pictured in a new mug shot taken from his hospital bed after he was transferred to a prison hospital in California earlier in the week.
Durst, who is 78-years-old, contracted COVID and appears frail in the image which shows him propped against a pillow, his eyes sunken and red.
In the picture, the estranged heir of a New York real estate empire, can be seen with a face mask pulled down around his chin while he looks deadpan into the lens.
Durst was sentenced to life in prison without parole for killing his best friend Susan Berman at the Inglewood Courthouse in Los Angeles on October. He was diagnosed with COVID-19 and placed on a ventilator two days later.
He was moved from the Los Angeles jail system on Wednesday and is now hospitalized at the California Health Care Facility in Stockton that cares for seriously-ill inmates.
Robert Durst is pictured at his sentencing on October 14. He was subsequently diagnosed with COVID and spent a fortnight on a ventilator, before being transferred to a prison facility for seriously-ill inmates
The Northern California hospital facility in Stockton is for inmates with long-term and acute medical needs
The Northern California hospital facility is for inmates with long-term and acute medical needs.
Less than two weeks ago he was hooked up to a ventilator for oxygen.
‘Durst will be evaluated for appropriate housing consistent with his security, medical, psychiatric, housing and program needs and other case factors,’ the prison said in a statement.
Durst silenced his best friend Susan Berman in December 2000 to keep her from telling authorities how she helped him cover up the 1982 killing of his wife Kathleen McCormack Durst in New York, prosecutors said.
On October 22, New York authorities charged Durst with second-degree murder. Kathie Durstr disappeared without a trace in 1982, and her body has never been found.
After the Westchester County District Attorney in New York reopened Kathie’s disappearance as a murder case this year, the woman’s family told News 12 that they felt closer to justice than ever before, but were anxious over Durst’s failing health.
Astonishingly, progress was made in that case when First Lady Jill Biden’s first husband Bill Stevenson said he’d been having an affair with Kathie shortly before she vanished.
Durst appeared sickly during his sentencing with his lawyer of 20 years Dick DeGuerin saying how he ‘looked worse than I’ve ever seen him.’
Durst already suffered from a variety of serious health problems before his hospitalization.
In a push to postpone Durst’s trial indefinitely, DeGuerin rattled off a list of his ‘life-threatening’ health issues in June, according to NBC Los Angeles, including severe malnourishment, a recurrence of esophageal cancer, atrial fibrillation, chronic kidney disease, coronary disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and spinal disease.
When Durst was being treated for one of these maladies in a jail hospital that month, Deputy District Attorney John Lewin questioned the veracity of his sickness, telling a judge that the 78-year-old defendant ‘is on record in his jail calls saying that he’s going to fake dementia, that he’s going to secure a mistrial due to COVID.’
Kathleen McCormack Durst (left), was 29 years old when she vanished on January 29, 1982. Her body was never found
Durst was sentenced to life in prison for the 2000 murder of his friend Susan Berman (left); a day later, he was hospitalized for COVID
Durst entered the courtroom with a wide-eyed vacant stare. Near the end of the hearing after Berman’s loved ones told the judge how her death upended their lives, Durst coughed hard and appeared to struggle to breathe. His chest heaved, and he pulled his mask down below his mouth and began to gulp for air.
Durst was also acquitted of killing a neighbor in Texas in 2003 after testifying he shot the man in self-defense during a struggle for a handgun. He was cleared despite chopping the victim’s body up afterwards, and dumping it in the ocean.
The multimillionaire whose grandfather founded one of New York City’s premier real estate companies was considered a suspect in Kathie’s disappearance, but evaded justice for 39 years.
The killing had been a mystery that haunted the women’s’ families for years before Durst participated in the 2015 HBO documentary ‘The Jinx: The Life and Crime of Robert Durst’ that unearthed new evidence and caught him in a stunning confession:
‘What the hell did I do? Killed them all, of course,’ Durst mumbled on a hot mic as he went to the bathroom, unaware that he was being recorded, during an interview with filmmaker Andrew Jarecki – the real estate scion was arrested the day before the documentary aired after the recording was shared with police.
Berman is thought to have helped Durst cover his tracks after his wife’s disappearance, posing as Kathie to phone her medical school to say she was sick on the morning after she was last seen alive.
Durst was convicted in Los Angeles Superior Court last month of first-degree murder for shooting Berman point-blank in the back of the head.
Kathie Durst was last seen on Christmas of 1982, according to interviews conducted with her family by News 12.
Robert Durst in his wheelchair looks at people in the courtroom as he appears during his murder trial in September
Her brother, Jim McCormack, told the outlet that Durst had wanted to leave the holiday gathering, but Kathie was lingering. What happened next has haunted the McCormack family since:
‘[Durst] walked over to her, grabbed her by the top of her hair and yanked her. And she went with that pull. My grandmother’s eyes were as big as pizza pies. She grabbed her coat and she turns to me and says “It’s OK, Jimmy,”‘ he said.
Eight years after his wife’s disappearance, Durst quietly divorced her, citing ‘spousal abandonment. She was not declared legally dead until 2019.
Durst was also charged – and acquitted in 2005 – of the 2001 murder of Morris Black (above) who he admitted dismembering
In an affidavit, Durst wrote that ‘he received no communication from his wife’ after she left their home in South Salem on January 31, 1982.
Sources close to the reopened case investigation told News 12 that Durst originally told police that he had dropped Kathie off at a train station in Westchester, then spoke to her on a payphone after she took a train to Manhattan.
Durst was also charged – and acquitted at a 2005 trial – of the 2001 murder of his neighbor Morris Black in Galveston, Texas, despite admitting to chopping his body up into multiple pieces with an ax and a bow saw.
Durst had claimed he accidentally shot Black in the head when they were both wrestling over Durst’s firearm which Black had gotten hold of.
He dismembered his body and dumped it in the sea in plastic bags which were discovered by authorities.
The only body part never found was Black’s head – making Durst’s version of events difficult to disprove.
The real estate scion had wound up being neighbors with Black when he was reportedly hiding from New York authorities in the small town in Texas.
Prosecutors during his trial for Berman’s murder argued Durst murdered Black when he discovered his true identity as the man suspected of killing his wife in New York.
DA Rocah reopened the investigation back in May into Kathie’s disappearance – a case that has plagued the DA’s office for decades.
The original investigation was only ever launched as a missing persons case and no search of the Durst’s home was carried out.
In 2000, then-DA Jeanine Pirro reopened the case into Kathie’s disappearance at a time when Berman’s death was being investigated in LA and Durst was facing charges over Black’s death in Texas.
Authorities searched a lake and the Durst couple´s home, but, once again, no charges were brought.