GALVESTON, Texas - Some believe Robert Durst has gotten away with murder for nearly 40 years since his wife went missing in the 1980s but now he's been found guilty of a different murder in a completely different part of the country.
Actually, the millionaire real estate heir was also once charged with murder in Galveston. If you’re counting that makes three deaths on three different coasts that many believe Bob Durst is responsible for but tonight a jury in Los Angeles has found the 78-year-old guilty for the death of one of the three.
"Thank God. It's just gratefulness I think. Gratefulness that this has finally happened. This is really emotional for me," says retired Galveston Judge Susan Criss.
It was in Criss’ courtroom in Galveston where multi-millionaire Robert Durst was found not guilty of murdering and dismembering his neighbor Morris Black in 2001 and Judge Criss couldn’t show any emotion then.
"Because judges aren’t allowed to do that," she added. So I had to be neutral. I had to control my face and not show the disappointment that I felt and the fear that I felt."
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Criss has been a defense attorney, prosecutor, and judge and has never had such a strong reaction to a verdict. Why? Well, Durst was living as a mute woman in a Galveston apartment after he left New York under a cloud of suspicion that he killed his wife in 1982.
Once the case was re-opened in 2000 investigators wanted to speak with Durst’s best friend Susan Berman about his wife’s disappearance but Berman was found dead in her Los Angeles home before they could. It's for Berman's murder that Durst has now been found guilty.
A few months after he murdered Berman Durst admits to killing and cutting up his neighbor in Galveston but a jury believed that was accidental.
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"It was so frightening when you look at the facts of what he did. I saw the pictures of the body that he cut up and that is so scary to think of a human being able to do that," says Judge Criss.
So why did the Galveston jury find Durst not guilty?
"There’s a lot of things that went wrong in that case. I think some of them were overwhelmed with his wealth," says Criss. I actually covered that trial and I remembered thinking the same thing. Many of the jurors seemed enamored by Durst who’s said to be worth about $100 million.
So how did a man who could have been doing anything he wanted to end up under suspicion for three murders and now found guilty of one of them? Durst's problems are said to have started when he was 7-years-old and he saw his mother dead on the ground after she either fell or jumped to her death from the roof of their home.
Now after what’s said to be a life of psychiatric problems and decades of being suspected of murder Durst has now been found guilty of murder and will be sentenced next month.