Robert Durst was reportedly placed on a ventilator in a Los Angeles hospital last week after testing positive for Covid-19.
Durst was admitted to LAC+USC Medical Center one day after appearing slumped in his wheelchair during a sentencing hearing, where he received life in prison after a trial for a 2000 murder. A lawyer for Durst told The New York Times the former real estate heir’s health declined over the course of the trial.
“On Thursday, he looked like death warmed over,” lawyer Dick DeGuerin told the outlet.
Despite various health problems, Durst appeared to be alert during appearances for his four-month murder trial, the Times noted.
About midway through the trial’s resumption from Covid-related delays, DeGuerin requested a mistrial, claiming Durst was “too sick to continue.” The lawyer told the judge in the case it was “cruel and unusual for Mr. Durst to be put through this in his condition.” The defense previously made a similar request to halt the trial in June.
All of these requests fell largely on deaf ears as the trial motored ahead.
Durst last week was sentenced to life in prison for the murder of Susan Berman at her Benedict Canyon home. The former heir to the Durst Organization is not eligible for parole, though his lawyers are expected to appeal the decision.
Durst was arrested in 2015, shortly after the release of the HBO documentary, “The Jinx,” which concluded with seemingly self-incriminating comments. Prosecutors accused Durst of killing Berman to stop her from sharing information about his wife Kathie McCormack’s 1982 disappearance.
Prosecutors in Westchester County, New York, earlier this year reopened their investigation into McCormack’s disappearance. Durst initially plead not guilty to the murder charge in 2016 and in the same year pleaded guilty to a weapons charge. He received a seven-year sentence, which he is still serving.[NYT] — Holden Walter-Warner