Los Angeles prosecutors announced Monday that real estate heir Robert Durst has been formally charged with murder for the 2000 shooting death of Susan Berman. The official charge is first degree murder, and he might face the death penalty because prosecutors allege there were special circumstances that include killing a witness and lying in wait. Investigators were days away from interviewing Berman about the death of Durst's wife, Kathleen, when she was killed execution style in her home. But now that he's been formally charged, when will Durst go to trial?
In order to go to court, Durst must be extradited from New Orleans to Los Angeles, where the charges were filed. Durst and his lawyer have said that he will not fight this extradition, as they're ready to "go back to California and get it on," Durst lawyer Dick DeGuerin said, according to USA Today. But it might not be that simple.
As the The Los Angeles Times reports, Durst might not be able to be extradited quickly to California. When he was arrested in New Orleans, Durst was allegedly in possession of a .38 revolver as well as marijuana. Because he might be charged with the crime of marijuana possession in Louisiana, according to Chip Lewis, another of Durst's lawyers, the extradition process becomes complicated. So far, though, he has not yet been charged with a crime in Louisiana, a spokesman told The Times.
Before Durst even makes it to an actual trial, there'd likely have to be a pre-trial hearing to determine whether his alleged confession would be admissible in court. In the last episode of the HBO docuseries The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst, Durst was captured by a microphone muttering to himself, "What did I do? Killed them all, of course." Robert Mintz, a former federal prosecutor, told Reuters that the pre-trial hearing to determine if the evidence is admissible would "certainly be the centerpiece of the legal battle."
And that's all before the actual trial can even begin. If there's one thing we know about trials — if Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's trial nearly two years after the bombing at the Boston Marathon is any indication — it'll be a long time before Durst sees the inside of a courtroom for an actual trial. Once he goes through the extradition and pre-hearing processes, he'll go to trial, and if convicted, will face sentencing. But as he has been previously acquitted for murder, even though he admitted dismembering his neighbor Morris Black's body, it's unclear what the future holds for Durst.
Images: HBO (1); Getty Images (1)