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Convicted killer Robert Durst, who is now on a ventilator in California with COVID-19, according to his lawyer, just weeks after being handed a life sentence for the decades-old murder of his best friend, is now the subject of a grand jury hearing looking at the disappearance of his wife in New York over 40 years ago.
Prosecutors in Westchester county have begun presenting evidence to a grand jury regarding the 1982 disappearance of Katherine “Kathie” McCormack Durst, the Rockland/Westchester Journal News reported. While McCormack Durst's body has never been found, Durst, 78, has long been suspected of killing the 29-year-old medical student. She was declared dead in 2017.
Durst was sentenced to life in prison on Thursday for the 2000 murder in Los Angeles of his best friend, Susan Berman. During his trial, prosecutors argued to the jury that Durst shot Berman execution-style because she had information about his wife's disappearance.
Prosecutors claimed during the trial that Durst killed Berman two months after Jeanine Pirro, who was then Westchester's district attorney, announced that she planned to reopen the case of McCormack Durst's vanishing.
Durst recently testified that he'd fled to Texas after this news emerged, where he bought a wig and hid out in a cheap apartment in Galveston, disguised as a mute woman. Just months after Berman's murder, Durst shot his neighbor, Morris Black, to death before disposing of his dismembered remains in Galveston Bay. He claimed he shot Black in self-defense; the millionaire scion was acquitted of murder at trial.
Last month, McCormack Durst's family asked for charges to be filed against the suspected serial killer for her vanishing and possible killing.
“The justice system in Los Angeles has finally served the Berman family,” their statement said. “It is now time for Westchester to do the same for the McCormack family and charge Durst for the murder of his wife, Kathie, which occurred almost 40 years ago.”
Dick DeGuerin, Durst's lead defense attorney, told media outlets over the weekend that his client is in the hospital and on a ventilator after contracting COVID-19. Durst was not present in court when he was convicted of Berman’s murder, as he had been exposed to someone who tested positive for the disease.
Durst was the subject of the popular 2015 HBO docuseries “The Jinx,” a series that played a big role in the recent trial. Durst was arrested in connection with Berman's death just one day before the finale of the series aired.
The docuseries captured Durst on a hot mic while using the bathroom after a contentious interview with the filmmaker, Andrew Jarecki. At that moment, Durst seems to mumble to himself that he was “caught” and that he was having difficulty with the questions. He appeared to have said the phrases “Killed them all, of course” and "What the hell did I do?” While the filmmakers edited his mumblings, they provided the full clip to the police.
That audio played in its entirety for jurors in 2020, before the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown postponed his trial.
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