updated 9/29/2004 11:34:35 PM ET 2004-09-30T03:34:35

New York real estate heir Robert Durst pleaded guilty Wednesday to bond jumping and evidence tampering in connection with the death and dismemberment of his elderly neighbor.

Durst was sentenced to five years and will receive credit for time served. His attorney, Dick DeGuerin, said that means Durst likely will spend about two more years in prison.

The plea deal was reached hours after an appeals judge removed state District Judge Susan Criss from the case amid defense arguments that she was biased.

Criss, who previously rejected a plea deal, presided over Durst’s murder trial, where he was acquitted of intentionally killing 71-year-old Morris Black. Defense attorneys said five jurors reported Criss was openly critical of that verdict.

Criss said Wednesday that she would not have accepted the plea agreement: “It was too light. It’s hard to say what would have been fair. He could have received up to 20 years in prison. He got a quarter of that.”

Galveston County prosecutor Kurt Sistrunk said Durst’s sister agreed with the plea bargain.

Despite the acquittal in November, Durst, 61, has remained jailed in Galveston because he fled the city shortly after his 2001 arrest.

Durst testified during his trial that he accidentally shot Black as they struggled for a gun in Durst’s apartment. He contended he then panicked, cut up the body and dumped the pieces in Galveston Bay.

Durst left Galveston but returned and was arrested. He posted bond and ran again, then was caught in Pennsylvania.

His family runs The Durst Organization, a billion-dollar New York real estate company.

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