Thursday’s hearing began with prosecutors’ arguments after the defense filed a motion for a new trial. Durst was at the hearing, sitting in a wheelchair and wearing a gray prison uniform top.
Several jury members were attending the hearing during the hearing.
Durst, 78, was convicted by a jury on September 17 of shooting his best friend Susan Berman at their Beverly Hills home, hours before he was told by investigators about the mysterious disappearance of his first wife, Kathleen McCormack Durst. who was last seen in 1982.
The eccentric heir to the New York real estate empire, Durst took the stand at his months-long trial and denied the murders of McCormack Durst and Berman. They said they found Burman on his bedroom floor with a fatal gunshot wound to the back of the head.
But under cross-examination, Durst testified that he would have misunderstood himself if he had killed them. Questions from prosecutors also led Durst to admit that he proved himself wrong five times during the trial.
In addition, Nick Chavin, a longtime friend of both Durst and Berman, testified that the defendant referred to Berman and told him, “It was him or me”. “I had no choice.”
As part of their decision, jurors agreed that the crime met “special circumstances” in California law, which allows Durst to be sentenced to life without parole, for the murder of a witness to a crime. , to lie in wait and use a firearm. the killing. The death penalty is banned in California.
His lawyer said that at the time the jury announced the guilty verdict, he was in coronavirus quarantine in prison.
The sentencing comes years after Durst’s infamous role in the 2015 HBO documentary “The Jinx.” In the final moments of the show, Durst walked into the bathroom, apparently not realizing that his mic was still on, and made a series of comments that appeared to be a confession.
“There it is. You’re caught,” he said in a series of seemingly unrelated sentences. “He was right. I was wrong.”
“What did I do? Definitely killed them all,” he said.
However, tapes of audio recordings in court showed that the quotes were added and edited in a different order and context, The New York Times has reported. Durst has said that he was “high on meth” during the taping of the documentary.
McCormack Durst was pronounced legally dead in 2017. His body has not been found and no one has been charged in the case.
Berman’s death is not the first time Durst has faced trial. In 2003, Durst told police that he had killed and bitten a neighbor in Galveston, Texas, two years earlier. She said she shot the man and cut him off in a panic. Prosecutors said he wanted to steal the man’s identity and avoid an investigation into his wife’s disappearance.
CNN’s Stephanie Baker and Cheri Mossberg reported from Los Angeles, and Steve Almasi wrote in Atlanta. CNN’s Eric Levenson and Paul Verkamman contributed to this report.