A Westchester County grand jury indicted disgraced real estate heir Robert Durst for allegedly murdering his wife in 1982 on Monday, about six weeks after a jury convicted him of murder in the 2000 death of his longtime friend Susan Berman.
Durst, 78, was sentenced to life in prison on Oct. 14 for shooting Berman at point-blank range in her Los Angeles home.
Prosecutors alleged that Durst murdered Berman because she was about to tell authorities that she provided a fake alibi for Durst after his first wife, Kathie, disappeared in 1982.
Monday’s grand jury indictment for second-degree murder comes after charges were filed against him on Oct. 19.
All felony cases require a grand jury indictment to proceed in New York unless the defendant waives the requirement.
“When Kathleen Durst disappeared on January 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,” Westchester County District Attorney Miriam E. Rocah said Monday.
“We have taken a huge step forward in the pursuit of justice for Kathie Durst, her family and victims of domestic violence everywhere.”
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An attorney who represents Kathie Durst’s family did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Monday.
Kathie Durst disappeared from the couple’s South Salem, New York, home in January 1982 at the age of 29, but her remains have never been found. She was declared legally dead in 2017.
New York State Police Investigator Joseph Becerra, who reopened the probe into Kathie’s death in 1999, testified at trial that he wanted to interview Berman but never got the chance because Robert Durst killed her.
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Durst emphatically denied killing Berman and his wife during the trial.
“Thinking about that makes my skin crawl,” Durst said on the witness stand in August. “The answer is no. I did not kill my wife.”
At the trial for Berman’s murder, prosecutors also presented evidence that Durst intentionally killed a neighbor in Galveston, Texas, in 2001, though a jury acquitted him in that case after he argued that he shot the neighbor in self-defense.
Durst appeared in a wheelchair during much of the trial for Berman’s murder and was placed on a ventilator after being diagnosed with COVID-19 last month.
Dick DeGuerin, Durst’s attorney, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Monday.
Interest in the allegations against Durst spiked after a documentary entitled “The Jinx” aired on HBO in 2015.
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After filmmakers confronted Durst with evidence that he sent an anonymous note to police tipping them off about Berman’s murder, Durst was caught on a hot mic in the bathroom saying, “What the hell did I do? Killed them all, of course.”
Durst was arrested at a New Orleans hotel the day before the finale of that documentary in March 2015 and charged with Berman’s murder.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.