Robert Durst, the heir to a billion-dollar real estate empire who was sentenced to life in prison after admitting to murder in the HBO miniseries The Jinx, has died at the age of 78. As TMZ reports, the cause was cardiac arrest, though he had also been battling bladder cancer, and was weakened after a bout with COVID-19 put him on a ventilator last year.
The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst aired in 2015 and examined the possibility that Durst was a serial killer. Incredibly, the series was Durst’s idea, having reached out to director Andrew Jarecki to volunteer himself for an interview. At the time, he was suspected in the deaths of three people: his wife Kathleen McCormack Durst, who disappeared in 1982; the 2000 murder of his friend Susan Berman; and the 2001 Texas killing of a drifter named Morris Black, for which he had already stood trial for murder and been acquitted, even though he had admitted to butchering the man’s body and dumping it into Galveston Bay.
In The Jinx, Durst spoke on camera about losing his temper with his wife, and offered several incriminating details about all three of the deaths in question. But he sealed his fate during a trip to the bathroom, when he forgot to remove his hot mic. “What the hell did I do? Killed them all, of course,” he said. Later, he explained that his strange behavior was due to the use of methamphetamines. “I was on meth, I was on meth the whole time, he said. “It should have been obvious.”
The first episode of The Jinx aired on February 8th, and Durst was arrested on March 14th. He was quickly convicted of the murder of Susan Berman, who prosecutors said had helped him cover up the killing of his wife, Kathie. At the time of his death, he was also facing a new trial for Kathie’s murder, though the court proceedings had been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.