NEW YORK (AP) — Robert Durst was indicted Monday for homicide within the demise of his first spouse, Kathie Durst, whose disappearance practically 4 many years in the past has lengthy shadowed the incarcerated millionaire, contributing to his more and more weird and violent conduct and resulting in an notorious on-camera confession.
A grand jury within the New York Metropolis suburbs returned the second-degree homicide indictment simply weeks after an investigator within the case filed a legal grievance on the town court docket charging the 78-year-old actual property inheritor with homicide, Westchester District Lawyer Mimi Rocah mentioned.
Durst is serving a life sentence in California for killing a confidante who helped him cowl up Kathie Durst’s slaying. Durst was hospitalized on a ventilator with COVID-19 after his Oct. 14 sentencing within the Los Angeles case and was transferred final week to a state jail hospital. His medical situation was not launched however a mug shot confirmed no signal of a ventilator.
Rocah mentioned a warrant has been issued for Durst’s arrest within the New York case.
“When Kathleen Durst disappeared on January 31, 1982, her household and associates have been left with ache, anguish and questions which have contributed to their unfaltering pursuit of justice for the final 39 years,” Rocah mentioned in a press release asserting the indictment.
Rocah mentioned her workplace “reinvigorated its investigation” into Robert Durst when she took workplace in January, launching a chilly case unit and dedicating mandatory ability and sources. She determined to take the case to a grand jury in early October. Rocah mentioned Durst’s indictment is a “enormous step ahead within the pursuit of justice for Kathie Durst, her household and victims of home violence all over the place.”
Requested by a reporter if he had any response to the indictment, Durst lawyer Chip Lewis replied in an electronic mail: “Pretend news!” Requested in a subsequent electronic mail if he’ll be representing Durst within the New York case and whether or not there are considerations about transferring him to New York, given his well being points, Lewis responded, “Undecided he’ll make it. But when he does, I’ll let you recognize.”
A lawyer for Kathie Durst’s household mentioned they have been nonetheless processing the news of the indictment and would communicate extra in regards to the matter within the coming days.
Kathie Durst’s 1982 disappearance garnered renewed public curiosity after HBO aired a documentary in 2015 wherein the eccentric Durst appeared to confess killing individuals, stepping off digital camera and muttering to himself on a reside microphone: “Killed all of them, after all.”
The grand jury that indicted Durst stored assembly and listening to witnesses even after State Police Investigator Joseph Becerra filed a legal grievance in a city court docket in Lewisboro, New York, on Oct. 19 charging Durst with second-degree homicide. He had by no means beforehand been charged in her disappearance.
Such filings are sometimes seen as a primary step within the legal course of as a result of, in New York, all felony instances require a grand jury indictment to proceed to trial except a defendant waives that requirement.
Kathie Durst was 29 and in her closing months of medical college when she was final seen. She and Robert Durst, who was 38 on the time, had been married practically 9 years and have been residing in South Salem, a neighborhood in Lewisboro. Her physique was by no means discovered. Robert Durst divorced her in 1990 citing abandonment. On the request of her household, she was declared legally lifeless in 2017.
Robert Durst’s conduct grew to become more and more erratic as investigators made a number of makes an attempt over time to shut the case. In 1999, authorities searched a lake and the couple’s house however turned up little proof, with Becerra equating the search to a “a needle in a haystack.”
In December 2000, Durst shot and killed his greatest pal, Susan Berman, as she was getting ready to inform police about her involvement in Kathie Durst’s demise. She had advised associates she offered a phony alibi for him after his spouse vanished, prosecutors mentioned.
Durst was convicted in September of killing Berman. Afterward, Los Angeles prosecutor John Lewin described him as a “narcissistic psychopath,” saying Durst “killed his spouse after which he needed to hold killing to cowl it up.”
After Berman’s demise, Durst went into hiding, disguising himself as a mute girl residing in an affordable condo in Galveston, Texas. There, he killed a neighbor, chopped up his physique and tossed it out to sea. Durst claimed self-defense — that he and Black have been struggling for management of a gun — and was acquitted. He was convicted of destroying proof for discarding the physique elements.
Durst was additionally sentenced in 2016 to over seven years in jail after pleading responsible to a federal weapons cost stemming from a 2015 arrest in New Orleans.
Robert Durst’s household owns greater than 16 million sq. toes of actual property in New York and Philadelphia, together with a ten% stake in One World Commerce Heart, the Manhattan skyscraper previously often known as the Freedom Tower. Relations purchased out Robert Durst’s stake within the enterprise for $65 million in 2006.
Within the 2015 HBO documentary “The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst,” Durst appeared to confess killing individuals and admitted he made up particulars about what occurred the night time she disappeared as a result of he was “hoping that might simply make every thing go away.”
Durst, who has quite a few medical points, sat in a wheelchair for a lot of the California trial and sentencing listening to. He learn his lawyer’s questions from a pill giving reside transcriptions as a result of he struggles with listening to.
Durst, testifying within the Los Angeles trial in August, denied killing Kathie Durst. After her medical college known as to report that she hadn’t been going to class, he mentioned he figured she was “out someplace having enjoyable” and advised that maybe drug use was in charge.
“It hadn’t occurred to me that something had occurred to her,” Durst mentioned, talking slowly in a strained, raspy voice. “It was extra like: What had Kathie accomplished to Kathie?”
Related Press author Brian Melley in Los Angeles contributed to this report.
Comply with Michael Sisak on Twitter at twitter.com/mikesisak
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