Monday, June 27

Robert Durst charged with murder 39 years after the disappearance of his wife Kathie Durst | Robert Durst

Robert Durst was charged Monday with murder in the death of his first wife, Kathie McCormack Durst, who disappeared nearly four decades ago.

The billionaire real estate heir is currently serving a life sentence in California for the murder of Susan Berman, his friend and confidant who prosecutors say helped him cover up the murder of Kathie Durst.

Durst was hospitalized on a Covid-19 ventilator after his Oct. 14 sentencing in the Los Angeles case and was transferred last week to a state prison hospital. His current medical status was not disclosed.

A grand jury in suburban New York City returned the second-degree murder charge Monday. “When Kathleen Durst disappeared on January 31, 1982, her family and friends were left with pain, anguish and questions that have contributed to her tireless search for justice for the past 39 years,” said Westchester District Attorney Mimi Rocah. , it’s a statement. statement announcing the accusation.

Rocah said his office had “reinvigorated its investigation” into Robert Durst when he took office in January, launching an open cases unit and dedicating the necessary skills and resources. He decided to take the case to a grand jury in early October. Rocah said Durst’s indictment was “a great step forward in seeking justice for Kathie Durst, her family and victims of domestic violence everywhere.”

When asked by a reporter if he had any reaction to the accusation, Durst’s attorney, Chip Lewis, responded in an email: “Fake news!” When asked in a subsequent email if he would represent Durst in the New York case and if there were any health concerns about his move to New York, Lewis responded: “I’m not sure I will. But if he does, I’ll let you know. “

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An attorney for Kathie Durst’s family said they were still processing the news of the indictment and would talk more about the matter in the coming days.

Kathie Durst’s disappearance in 1982 sparked renewed public interest after HBO aired a documentary in 2015 in which Durst appeared to admit to killing people, getting off camera and muttering to himself into a live microphone: “He killed them. everyone, of course. “

Kathie Durst was 29 years old and in her final months of medical school when she was last seen. She and Robert Durst, who was 38 at the time, had been married for almost nine years and lived in South Salem, a community in Lewisboro, New York. His body was never found. Robert Durst divorced her in 1990, citing abandonment. At the request of her family, she was declared legally dead in 2017. Robert Durst had never before been charged with her disappearance.

In December 2000, Durst shot and killed Berman as he prepared to report his role in Kathie Durst’s death to police, prosecutors said. She had told friends that she provided him with a false alibi after his wife disappeared, according to prosecutors.

Durst was convicted in September of killing Berman. Later, Los Angeles prosecutor John Lewin described him as a “narcissistic psychopath,” saying that Durst had “killed his wife and then had to keep killing to cover it up.”

Durst, who testified at the Los Angeles trial in August, denied killing Kathie Durst. After her medical school called to report that she hadn’t been to class, he said he thought she was “somewhere having fun” and suggested that perhaps drug use was the culprit.

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“It hadn’t occurred to me that something had happened to him,” Durst said, speaking slowly in a tight, husky voice. “It was more like: what had Kathie done to Kathie?”

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