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Robert Durst to appear in court on a murder charge in his friend's death

Updated 6:42 AM ET, Mon April 16, 2018

(CNN) - Millionaire real estate heir Robert Durst is due in a Los Angeles court Monday, accused of killing his friend Susan Berman.

Durst, 75, faces one count of first-degree murder in the December 2000 killing. He is scheduled to appear at a preliminary hearing in the Los Angeles Airport Courthouse.

Berman was shot in the head in her Beverly Hills, California, home shortly before investigators were set to speak with her about the 1982 disappearance of Durst's first wife, Kathleen McCormack Durst.

Robert Durst has long maintained he had nothing to do with Berman's death or his wife's disappearance.

Durst has said the last time he saw his first wife was when he dropped her off at a train station in Westchester, New York, so she could head back to medical school in the city.

McCormack's body has never been found and no one has been charged in connection to her disappearance.

'The Jinx'

In 2015, Durst was the subject of the HBO documentary "The Jinx."

In the final episode of "The Jinx," Durst made headlines after he was overheard muttering to himself on a microphone he apparently did not realize he was on.

Durst is heard saying: "What the hell did I do? Killed them all, of course."

He was later accused of killing Berman, a crime writer who had been a longtime friend of his. When authorities arrested Durst he was found with a .38 caliber revolver and later pleaded guilty to one charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm. Prosecutors argued he'd been preparing for a life on the lam.

Berman had helped handle Durst's public relations after his wife's disappearance and also had plenty of troubles of her own. She'd written books about her family's mafia ties and was facing financial problems.

In 2000, when investigators reopened the 1982 disappearance case of Durst's first wife, they made plans to visit Berman in Los Angeles.

"She was a confidante of Robert Durst. She knew him well," CNN's Jean Casarez said after Durst was arrested in 2015 in connection to Berman's death. "And it was just days before investigators were to fly out to California to talk with her about what she may have known about the disappearance of Kathleen Durst that she was shot execution-style in her living room."

Self-defense killing

In 2003, Durst admitted he'd killed and dismembered his neighbor, Morris Black, in Galveston, Texas, in 2001, but argued he'd shot Black in self-defense during a struggle and then cut him up in a panic.

Prosecutors argued Durst had planned Black's killing in order to steal his identity and escape the attention of New York investigators looking into his wife's disappearance. Jurors acquitted him in that murder trial.

Durst pleaded guilty to bond-jumping and evidence-tampering as part of that case, according to Court TV.


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