A grand jury in suburban New York City handed down the indictment for second degree murder just weeks after an investigator in the case filed a criminal complaint in city court charging the estate heir with 78 years of murder, said Westchester District Attorney Mimi Rocah. . Durst is serving a life sentence in California for killing a confidant who helped him cover up the murder of Kathie Durst.
Durst was hospitalized on a ventilator with COVID-19 following his October 14 conviction in the Los Angeles case and was transferred last week to a state prison hospital. His condition was not disclosed, but a passport photo showed no signs of a ventilator.
An arrest warrant has been issued for his arrest.
“When Kathleen Durst went missing on January 31, 1982, her family and friends were left with pain, anguish and questions that have contributed to their tireless pursuit of justice for the past 39 years,” said Rocah.
She called the indictment “a big step forward in the pursuit of justice for Kathie Durst, her family and victims of domestic violence everywhere.”
Kathie Durst’s disappearance in 1982 sparked renewed public interest after HBO aired a documentary in 2015 in which the eccentric heir appeared to admit to killing people, stepping away from the camera and whispering into a microphone while direct: “Killed them all, of course.” “
The grand jury that indicted Durst continued to meet and hear witnesses even after State Police investigator Joseph Becerra filed a criminal complaint in a municipal court in Lewisboro, NY on October 19. , charging Durst with second degree murder.
Body never found
Kathie Durst was 29 years old and in her final months in 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. His body has never been found. At the request of her family, she was declared legally deceased in 2017.
Robert Durst’s behavior has become increasingly erratic as investigators have attempted several times over the years to close the case. In 1999, authorities searched a lake and the couple’s home, but found little evidence, with Becerra likening the search to “a needle in a haystack”.
A lawyer for his family said they are still dealing with the news of the indictment and will talk more about it in the coming days.
In December 2000, Durst shot dead her best friend, Susan Berman, as she prepared to inform the police of her involvement in the death of Kathie Durst. She had told friends that she provided him with a fake alibi after his wife went missing, prosecutors said.
Crimes and convictions
After Berman’s death, Durst went into hiding, disguising himself as a mute woman living in a cheap apartment in Galveston, Texas. There he killed a neighbor, chopped up his body and threw it overboard. Durst claimed self-defense – that he and Black were fighting for control of a gun – and was acquitted. He was found guilty of destroying evidence for throwing out the body parts.
Durst was also sentenced in 2016 to more than seven years in prison after pleading guilty to a federal weapons charge resulting from a 2015 arrest in New Orleans.
In the 2015 HBO documentary The Jinx: The Life and Death of Robert DurstDurst appeared to admit killing people and admitted that he made up details about what happened the night she went missing because he “hoped it would make it all go away.”
Durst, who has numerous medical issues, sat in a wheelchair for much of the California trial and sentencing hearing. He read his lawyer’s questions on a tablet giving live transcripts because he has difficulty hearing.
Testifying at the Los Angeles trial in August, he denied killing Kathie Durst. After his medical school called to report that she hadn’t been to class, he said he thought she was “out somewhere having fun” and suggested that drinking drugs were perhaps to blame.
“I hadn’t thought something had happened to him,” Durst said, speaking slowly in a strained, hoarse voice. “It was more like: what had Kathie done to Kathie?”
When asked if he had reacted to the indictment, Durst’s attorney, Chip Lewis, responded in an email: “Fake news! “
Robert Durst’s family owns more than 16 million square feet of real estate in New York City and Philadelphia, including a 10 percent stake in One World Trade Center, the Manhattan skyscraper formerly known as Freedom Tower . Family members bought Robert Durst’s stake in the company for US $ 65 million in 2006.