Durst has been charged with the first-degree murder of Berman in 2000 at her Beverly Hills home, hours before she was set to talk to investigators about the mysterious disappearance of his first wife, Kathleen McCormack Durst, who was last seen in 1982.
McCormack Durst was declared legally dead in 2017. Her body has not been found and no one has been charged in the case.
Jurors also agreed the crime met “special circumstances” in California law, which would allow Durst to be sentenced to life without parole, for the murder of a witness to a crime, lying in wait and using a firearm in the murder. California has a moratorium on the death penalty.
“The jury’s decision demonstrates how our legal system can work to hold accountable people regardless of their wealth and status in life,” District Attorney George Gascón said. “I want to commend our prosecution team and investigators for their diligent work to ultimately bring justice for those who have been waiting more than 20 years.”
Durst, 78, took the stand in his defense during the sensational trial in Los Angeles County Superior Court. He denied killing Berman and said he found her on the floor of her bedroom with a fatal gunshot to the back of the head.
Defense Attorney Dick DeGuerin said he was very disappointed by the verdict.
“We fought hard, but we came in second,” he said.
Durst was not in court to hear the verdict due to recent exposure to someone with Covid-19. He remains in quarantine after one of his drivers tested positive for the coronavirus, DeGuerin said.
He said he was unable to reach Durst to relay the verdict to him.
“We are extremely gratified and appreciative of the verdict that the jury reached in this case,” lead prosecutor John Lewin said afterward. He called Durst a “narcissistic psychopath” and added, “He got a lot more of a life than he was entitled to.”