Robert Durst Indicted for Murder of First Wife, Kathleen Durst

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The Westchester County District Attorney indicted Robert Durst, the scion of the famed Durst real estate family, for the murder of his first wife, Kathleen McCormack Durst, just over a month after he was found guilty of the first-degree murder of his friend Susan Berman as part of a coverup of his wife’s death.

Westchester County DA Miriam Rocah issued a warrant for his arrest Monday afternoon after charging the descendent of real estate royalty with second-degree murder on Oct. 19. Durst is currently in a Los Angeles state prison medical facility after being hospitalized for COVID-19 following his life sentence for Berman’s death, ABC reported.

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“For nearly four decades there has been a great deal of speculation about this case, much of it fueled by Robert Durst’s own highly publicized statements,” Rocah said in a statement. “An indictment is a crucial step in the process of holding wrongdoers accountable for their actions.”

Kathleen Durst’s murder went unsolved for nearly 40 years after she vanished near Lewisboro, N.Y., in 1982 at the age of 29. In 1990, Durst divorced her for abandonment and, while her case was later reopened in 1999 she was legally declared dead at the behest of her family in 2017.

Suspicions swirled around Robert Durst’s involvement for years and prosecutors argued that he killed her during the murder trial for Berman.

Prosecutors said Durst murdered his friend Berman to cover up the original murder of Kathleen Durst, who then killed and dismembered another acquaintance, Morris Black, while he hid from authorities. The grisly story gained national media attention in HBO’s 2015 documentary “The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst,” where Durst seems to acknowledge having committed the murders in interviews. Durst has denied killing his wife in his Los Angeles trial, which was delayed for more than a year due to the pandemic. 

“When Kathleen Durst disappeared on Jan. 31, 1982, her family and friends were left with pain, anguish and questions that have contributed to their unfaltering pursuit of justice for the last 39 years,” Rocah said in a statement.

The DA collaborated with the Federal Bureau of Investigation while investigating the 1982 murder, according to a statement from the DA’s office. 

The Westchester County DA’s office declined to comment on how they would proceed with the indictment, given that Durst is already in prison and was sentenced to life behind bars for Berman’s murder.

Celia Young can be reached at cyoung@commercialobserver.com.