LOS ANGELES (AP) — Convicted murderer Robert Durst has been transferred to state prison less than two weeks after being hospitalized on a ventilator with COVID-19 following his sentencing for the slaying of his best friend.
Durst, 78, the estranged heir of a New York real estate empire, was moved from the Los Angeles jail system Wednesday and taken to the California Health Care Facility in Stockton, prison spokeswoman Terry Thornton said. The Northern California facility treats inmates with the most severe and long-term medical needs.
A mug shot showed a bearded Durst with a mask under his chin and his head on a pillow, Thornton said. She said said she can’t discuss his condition.
Durst suffered from a variety of serious health problems before his hospitalization just after he was sentenced to life in prison without parole on Oct. 14 in the first-degree murder of Susan Berman.
Defense attorney Dick DeGuerin said Durst had been hospitalized with COVID-19 and was on a ventilator two days after sentencing. DeGuerin, who represented Durst over a period of about 20 years, said he had never seen him as sick as he had been in Los Angeles Superior Court at his final hearing.
Durst entered the courtroom with wide-eyed vacant stare. Near the end of the hearing after Berman’s loved ones told the judge how her death upended their lives, Durst coughed hard and appeared to struggle to breathe. His chest heaved, and he pulled his mask down below his mouth and began to gulp for air.
Durst silenced Berman in December 2000 to keep her from telling authorities how she helped him cover up the killing of his wife, Kathie Durst, in New York in 1982, prosecutors said.
New York authorities charged Durst last week with second-degree murder in the killing of Kathie Durst. Her body has never been found.
Robert Durst was acquitted of killing a neighbor in Texas in 2003 after testifying he shot the man in self-defense during a struggle for a handgun.