Robert Durst, the New York real estate heir and subject of HBO documentary The Jinx, has appeared in court in Los Angeles charged with the murder of Susan Berman. Durst is accused of killing his friend, Berman, in a bid to stop her from talking to police investigating the disappearance of his first wife, Kathleen McCormack Durst.

Entering a plea, 73-year-old Durst, who was described as appearing 'frail', said: "I do want to say here and now, though, I am not guilty. I did not kill Susan Berman."

Durst's first wife of almost nine years, known as Kathie, mysteriously disappeared in 1982. Suspicion fell on Durst after it emerged Kathie had told friends he beat her and that she had received treatment for injuries consistent with this at a New York hospital. Berman died in an execution-style killing in 2000, shortly after police reopened the investigation into Kathie's disappearance. She had previously acted as Durst's spokesperson .

Durst also previously stood trial for the murder of a neighbour, Morris Black, after his dismembered body parts were found floating in Galveston Bay, Texas. Durst, who admitted killing Black but said it was in self-defence, was acquitted of murder.

Though Durst was suspected of murdering all three, he was never convicted for any of the crimes. However, Durst was rearrested and charged after HBO's true-crime documentary The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst, appeared to show him admit his guilt in the murders.

While still wearing a wireless microphone, Durst whispered to himself off-camera: "There it is, you're caught," adding "What the hell did I do? Killed them all, of course."

The allegations made against Durst have been the subject of much speculation over the years. As well as The Jinx, and several episodes of Law and Order, Durst was the subject of a 2010 film All Good Things, where he was played by Ryan Gosling.

The Jinx Robert Durst
Robert Durst appeared to admit killing his wife and friend during the finale of the HBO docu-series The Jinx. The Jinx/Facebook