The Slatest

Robert Durst Gets Seven Years in Prison for Gun Plea Deal, Now Faces L.A. Murder Trial

Robert Durst sits in the Galveston County Courthouse in Nov. 2003.

Photo by James Nielsen/ Getty Images

The latest twist in the bizarre saga that is Robert Durst’s life will involve jail time—likely seven years of it. The New York real estate heir, whose allegedly murderous tendencies were captured and magnified last year in the HBO documentary series The Jinx, agreed Wednesday to plead guilty to a Louisiana weapons charge for a .38-caliber revolver found in his New Orleans hotel room in March 2015. It is illegal for Durst, as a convicted felon, to possess a firearm; the maximum sentence was 10 years in prison.

Durst was busted on the gun charge because police were concerned Durst was a flight risk after the HBO documentary rekindled interest in his court cases. It appears to be Durst’s first significant legal misstep, according to the New York Times:

Mr. Durst and his defense team [-] appear to have miscalculated in New Orleans. The defense had argued that the search of Mr. Durst’s hotel room by two F.B.I. agents was illegal and that the evidence they turned up, in particular the revolver, should be thrown out. Federal prosecutors and investigators from Los Angeles disputed that account and countered that a second, independent search, conducted hours later by Los Angeles detectives, was unquestionably legal. Mr. Durst’s lawyers were so confident the federal judge in the case, Helen G. Berrigan, would throw out the evidence that they never formalized a proposed plea agreement that would have meant a sentence of up to 27 months, according to lawyers briefed on the negotiations who were not authorized to discuss them.

Over several decades, starting with the disappearance of his then-wife, Durst showed an uncanny knack for evading punishment for a series of suspicious deaths—one of which he admitted to, but claimed it was accidental. Durst’s lawyers, however, framed the plea as a means to allow the millionaire to stand trial in Los Angeles for one of those deaths—the 2000 murder of his friend, and one-time spokesperson Susan Berman. “Bob Durst did not kill Susan Berman and doesn’t know who did,” Durst’s attorney Dick DeGuerin said in a prepared statement. “Bob Durst has one goal and that is to get to Los Angeles and prove his innocence.”