Robert Durst, real estate scion, subject of HBO docuseries The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst, and known corpse dismemberer, is currently in prison. Durst, 72, is in a cell in New Orleans, were he has been since March, on a gun charge. Next year, he will be transferred to Los Angeles, where he has been charged with the murder of Susan Berman; he is accused of having shot her in the back of the head, execution-style, because she witnessed a crime.
But on Monday, the family of Durst’s first wife, Kathleen McCormack Durst, filed a $100 million dollar lawsuit against him. According to the New York Times, Kathleen’s three sisters, Carol Bamonte, Mary Hughes and Virginia McKeon, and her 101-year-old mother, Ann McCormack, have long believed that Durst killed his then-29-year-old wife. (This is an opinion likely shared by many viewers of The Jinx; in one of the most gripping season finales of the year, The Jinx showed Durst, seemingly unaware that his mic was still hot, muttering to himself that he “killed them all, of course.”)
Kathleen vanished from her Westchester County home in January 1982, with only months to go before her medical school graduation. Should her mother and sisters win the suit, they’ll literally be taking Durst for almost all he’s got: Durst’s net worth is estimated to be about $100 million.
The lawsuit utilizes a little-used New York law, the right to sepulcher, which grants next of kin the absolute right to the immediate possession of a body for a burial. As the McCormack family lawyer, Robert Abrams, told the Times, “The family’s priority has been and continues to be to provide Kathleen with a proper and dignified burial.”
The Times also reports that Durst is expected to be sentenced to more than five years in prison — his sentencing is slated for December 17 — “after acknowledging his guilt in that case.” Other than his vague, televised bathroom ramblings, Durst has maintained his innocence in Kathleen’s disappearance.
Probably fair to say Durst is regretting ever getting involved with The Jinx in the first place, as before the series aired, he was leading a free, if odd and isolated, life. Not even a day passed after the finale aired before Durst was arrested in New Orleans on a first degree murder warrant from L.A. On his person at the time: A fake I.D., a latex mask, a few thousand bucks in cash. Also, a handgun. Just your typical travel kit.
The timing of Durst’s arrest was so fortuitous for HBO, LAPD Deputy Chief Kirk Albanese had to tell the L.A. Times that “We didn’t base anything on the HBO series. The arrest was made as a result of the investigative efforts and at a time that we believe it was needed.”