Millionaire real estate heir Robert Durst on Monday pleaded not guilty to murder in the shooting death of his friend Susan Berman 16 years ago.
Durst, who gained notoriety as the central subject of the six-part HBO documentary The Jinx, appeared in a Los Angeles courtroom flanked by his attorney, telling the judge, "I am not guilty. I did not kill Susan Berman."
Prosecutors also said in court that they would not seek the death penalty.
Durst was rolled into the courtroom Monday by a sheriff’s deputy in a wheelchair with his neck in a brace, wearing black-rimmed glasses, a blue-and-white striped shirt, and dark pants.
Speaking to reporters outside the courtroom, Durst's attorney, Dick DeGuerin, said "there were no surprises today."
"We have been waiting for this hearing for some time," he said. "Bob is not guilty. He did not kill Susan Berman. He does not know who did and he is eager to go to trial."
Berman, the daughter of a Las Vegas mobster, is believed to have been killed on or around Dec. 23, 2000. Her body was discovered in her Benedict Canyon home on Christmas Eve.
Durst and Berman had been longtime friends, and she helped him deal with publicity surrounding the investigation into the disappearance of his first wife, Kathie, in 1982. Berman's death came after officials decided to reopen the investigation into the unsolved missing person's case.
Her killing was a main storyline in The Jinx, which examined Durst’s life and the alleged crimes. In the last episode, which aired the day after Durst’s arrest, filmmaker Andrew Jarecki confronted the real estate heir with evidence that he had killed Berman.
Durst denied the accusation, but after the interview, his live microphone recorded him during what he thought was a private moment.
“What the hell did I do?” he said. “Killed them all, of course.”
Durst has been serving a roughly seven-year federal prison sentence in New Orleans for a weapons charge after the FBI raided his hotel room and discovered an unauthorized .38 revolver. As part of his deal in that court case, Durst, who has steadfastly maintained he is innocent, was allowed to be transferred to Los Angeles.
Another court date in the case was scheduled for February.
Robert Durst’s attorney Dick DeGuerin spoke to reporters outside the courtroom. His comments were misattributed to another member of Durst's legal team.