Robert Durst, the subject of the acclaimed and shocking HBO docuseries The Jinx, has pleaded not guilty to the 2000 murder of his friend Susan Berman. Monday was his first appearance in court for the 16-year-old case.
“I do want to say here and now, though, I am not guilty,” the 73-year-old said in the Los Angeles court, according to The Los Angeles Times. “I did not kill Susan Berman.” The former real estate scion had just been extradited to California earlier this month for Berman’s death, which occurred in 2000.
Durst was originally arrested for Berman’s death last year after fleeing to New Orleans after a damning off-screen confession was caught by a hot mic during the docuseries’ filming. In Lousiana, he pleaded guilty for possessing a .38-caliber revolver and was sentenced to 85 months in federal prison under a plea deal. Though no exact date has been set, Durst’s attorney Dick DeGuerin stated that a murder trial will probably begin in one year.
The Jinx focused on both the case of Durst’s missing first wife Kathleen as well as the death of Berman. Kathleen Durst, a medical student, had gone missing in 1982 after nearly a decade of marital turbulence. While Robert had remained the primary suspect, no evidence was found to indict him for the crime and her body has never been discovered.
Berman had been a longtime close friend of Durst’s who protected and defended him during Kathleen’s disappearance. She was executed gangland style in the midst of financial troubles and was previously presumed to have been murdered by people connected to the mafia (Berman’s father was a mob boss.) Durst has maintained his innocence in both cases, despite him off-handedly seeming to admit to the murders while still wearing a microphone during the documentary’s filming.