Robert Durst: A timeline of his wife's disappearance and his criminal cases
Robert Durst was the cross-dressing scion of a billion-dollar Manhattan real estate empire, who left the business when passed over by a younger brother as their father's successor.
For nearly four decades he was suspected in the disappearance of his wife Kathie from their cottage in South Salem.
Durst was indicted in her killing by a Westchester grand jury on Nov. 1, 2021. He died on Jan. 10, 2022, though, before that case could progress. He was 78.
Kathie's disappearance was the third killing for which Durst faced murder charges, and he died while serving a life sentence in California following a murder conviction.
The first killing he was accused of was the killing of a close friend in Los Angeles in 2000. Susan Berman was shot execution-style in her home before New York investigators had the chance to speak with her about Kathie Durst's disappearance.
Nine months later, Durst shot and dismembered a neighbor in Galveston, Texas.
He beat that murder rap — and felt emboldened enough a decade later to share his life story for an HBO documentary. But he talked his way into a murder charge for the Berman slaying, for which he was sentenced in October 2021 to life in prison.
Robert Durst: Scarsdale native dies at 78
Robert Durst: Real estate scion indicted in wife's Westchester death
Susan Berman: Robert Durst sentenced to prison for killing friend
Here's a chronology of Durst's odyssey:
April 12, 1943: Robert Durst is born.
Nov. 8, 1950: Durst's mother, Bernice, falls or leaps to her death from the roof of the family's Hampton Road home in Scarsdale.
1971: Dental hygienist Kathleen McCormack and Robert Durst meet. After two dates, in early 1972, they move to Vermont, where they run a health food store, All Good Things.
1973: McCormack and Durst return to New York so he can resume working for family real estate business, the Durst Organization.
April 12, 1973: On Durst's 30th birthday, the couple marries.
1978: After getting a nursing degree, Kathie Durst enters Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx.
January 1982: Kathie Durst is treated at Jacobi Hospital in the Bronx for facial injuries. Friends say she told them the injuries were inflicted by her husband.
Jan. 31, 1982: Kathie Durst leaves a dinner party in Connecticut and returns to the couple's Hoyt Street cottage in South Salem. They argue. Robert Durst says he drove her to the Katonah train station and later reached her by telephone at their Riverside Drive apartment in Manhattan.
Feb. 1, 1982: A woman claiming to be Kathie Durst calls the medical school and says she is too ill to attend a pediatric clerkship that was beginning that morning.
Feb. 5, 1982: Robert Durst reports his wife missing to police in Manhattan. During the media firestorm that results, his close friend Susan Berman serves as an unofficial spokeswoman.
1983: Surrogate's Court case of Kathie Durst's estate begins. Her sister contends in an affidavit that Robert Durst bears responsibility for her disappearance.
February 1990: Robert Durst sells the South Salem cottage.
June 1990: Unbeknownst to Kathie Durst's family and friends, Robert Durst obtains a divorce in Westchester County Court after claiming spousal abandonment.
1994: Robert Durst leaves the family business after younger brother, Douglas, is put in charge of Durst Organization.
Summer 1999: State police Investigator Joseph Becerra reopens investigation of Kathie Durst's disappearance. Divers search Truesdale Lake, and police scour the Hoyt Street cottage for forensic evidence.
October 2000: The revived investigation becomes public.
November 2000: Durst rents a Galveston, Texas, apartment posing as a mute woman named Dorothy Ciner, a Scarsdale High School girlfriend he had not seen in decades.
Dec. 11, 2000: Durst marries Manhattan real estate broker Debrah Charatan.
Dec. 19, 2000: Durst flies to northern California and heads for Trinidad, where he had a home and office. The following day he used a calling card to make two calls from a pay phone in Garberville, Calif.
Dec. 23, 2000: Durst fatally shoots Susan Berman in her home in the Benedict Canyon section of Los Angeles. He heads back north and catches a late-night flight from San Francisco to New York.
Dec. 24, 2000: Los Angeles police discover Berman's body after neighbors reported her dogs were loose in the neighborhood. They subsequently receive a note directing them to Berman's address with the word "CADAVER."
Sept. 28, 2001: Morris Black, Durst's 71-year-old neighbor, is shot to death in Durst's Galveston apartment.
Sept. 29, 2001: Durst dismembers the body and dumps it in Galveston Bay. It is discovered the next day with evidence leading back to Durst.
Oct. 9, 2001: Durst is charged in Galveston with murder in Black's slaying. He posts $300,000 bail and leaves Texas.
Oct. 16, 2001: Durst fails to appear in Galveston court and is declared a fugitive.
Oct. 18, 2001: Identifying himself as Morris Black, Durst rents a car in Mobile, Ala.
Nov. 30, 2001: Durst is arrested at a Wegmans supermarket in Bath, Pa. He is accused of shoplifting a chicken sandwich, bandages and newspapers. He has two loaded handguns and more than $38,000 with him at the time. He is held on a Texas warrant.
Jan. 27, 2002: Durst returns to Texas after waiving extradition.
July 11, 2003: Durst, who has already paid a $1.2 million retainer, tries to fire his lawyers when they ask for an additional $600,000.
Sept. 22, 2003: Opening statements in State of Texas v. Robert Durst.
Oct. 22-28, 2003: In four days of testimony, Durst denies killing Black, claiming his .22-caliber handgun went off accidentally as they struggled over it.
Nov. 11, 2003: Durst is found not guilty of murder in Black's death. But he remains held on $3 billion bail on bail jumping and evidence tampering charges. An appellate court later rules the unprecedented bail is unconstitutional and orders it lowered to $450,000.
October 2004: Just as Durst expects to be paroled, federal authorities in Pennsylvania charge him with weapon possession for the guns he had while on the lam following Black's killing.
July 2005: Durst is released from federal prison and returned to Texas to serve parole.
December 2005: Durst is rearrested for parole violation after making unauthorized visits to Galveston and to a Houston mall where he bumped into the judge who presided over his murder trial.
Feb. 7, 2006: While in custody on the parole violation, Durst settles his legal case with his relatives for more than $60 million.
Feb. 28, 2006: Durst is released. Nine months later, his parole supervision ends.
Dec. 3, 2010: "All Good Things," a feature film based loosely on Durst's life starring Ryan Gosling and Kirsten Dunst, opens.
Aug. 16, 2013: Durst is arrested and charged with trespassing, accused of showing up outside the midtown Manhattan homes of his brother and another relative who had orders of protection against him.
July 20, 2014: Robert Durst is charged with criminal mischief in Houston after urinating on a candy rack at CVS.
Dec. 12, 2014: After a three-day trial, Robert Durst is acquitted on trespassing charges stemming from visits to his relative's homes.
Dec. 16, 2014: Durst pleads no contest to the Houston criminal mischief charge. He is fined $500 and pays restitution to CVS.
Feb. 8, 2015: HBO airs the first episode of "The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst."
March 14, 2015: Durst is arrested at the JW Marriott Hotel in New Orleans on a Los Angeles warrant charging him with first-degree murder in the slaying of Susan Berman.
March 15, 2015: Durst is arraigned and held without bail pending an extradition hearing. The sixth and final episode of "The Jinx" airs. It concludes with Durst confronted about his handwriting matching the cadaver note in the Berman case. He leaves to go to the bathroom and his microphone remains on. "That's it. You're caught," he says to himself, adding moments later, "What the hell did I do? Killed them all, of course."
March 16, 2015: Durst waives extradition so that he can be sent to Los Angeles to face the murder charge. But the extradition is delayed after Louisiana state police charge Durst with felony weapon possession, based on a .38-caliber revolver and five ounces of marijuana found in his hotel room after his arrest.
March 23, 2015: New Orleans judge denies bail on the Louisiana charges, agreeing with prosecution that Durst is a flight risk.
Feb. 3, 2016: Durst pleads guilty to federal weapon charge in Louisiana.
Nov. 4, 2016: Durst is extradited to California.
March 4, 2020: Trial begins in State of California v. Robert Durst.
March 16, 2020: Durst trial suspended due to COVID-19 pandemic.
May 17, 2021: The trial resumes with opening statements given anew.
Aug. 9-Sept. 1, 2021: Robert Durst testifies for 14 days, including nine days of cross-examination.
Sept. 17, 2021: After two days of deliberations, the jury finds Robert Durst guilty of first-degree murder in the death of Susan Berman, including the special circumstance that he killed her as a witness because of what she might reveal about what happened to his wife.
Oct. 14, 2021: Los Angeles County Judge Mark Windham sentences Robert Durst to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Across the country, a grand jury is empaneled in Westchester County to hear evidence in the disappearance of Kathie Durst.
Oct. 16, 2021: Defense lawyer Dick DeGuerin says Durst has contracted COVID-19.
Oct. 19, 2021: Expecting Durst might not live long enough to be indicted, prosecutors have Becerra, the state police investigator, file a criminal complaint in Lewisboro Town Court charging Durst with murder in his wife's death.
Nov. 1, 2021: Robert Durst is indicted by a Westchester County grand jury on a charge of second-degree murder in the killing of his wife, Kathie Durst.
Jan. 10, 2022: Durst dies in the custody of the California Department of Corrections. He was 78
This article originally appeared on Rockland/Westchester Journal News: Robert Durst timeline details history of criminal cases