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‘Huge Step Forward:’ Grand Jury Indicts Robert Durst For Killing Of Wife In 1982

Robert Durst faces second-degree murder charges for the killing of Kathleen McCormack Durst, weeks after being convicted if killing his friend Susan Berman in 2001.

By Gina Tron
Robert Durst Ap

A grand jury in New York indicted convicted killer Robert Durst for the murder of his first wife, a presumed homicide that has long been pointed to as the catalyst for his other killings.

The grand jury in Westchester County indicted the disgraced 78-year-old real estate heir of second-degree murder for the death of Kathleen “Kathie” McCormack Durst on Monday, the Associated Press reports.

Durst was charged last month with the presumed death of Kathleen, who vanished in 1982. A recent complaint accuses Durst of killing Kathleen, then 29, in their Lewisboro home before lying to police about her last moments alive. 

“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 District Attorney Mimi Rocah said while announcing the indictment.

She said her office “reinvigorated its investigation” into the 1982 case in January and called Monday’s indictment a “huge step forward in the pursuit of justice for Kathie Durst, her family and victims of domestic violence everywhere.”

Kathie's death has long been intertwined with other cases Durst has been connected to over the years.

Prosecutors pointed to her death as the catalyst for Durst's murder of longtime friend Susan Berman. They say he killed her after learning the prosecutors in New York wanted to reopen the Kathie's case and she had incriminating evidence that she was willing to share with authorities. Durst was convicted and sentenced to life for her slaying last month.

Durst also killed Morris Black in Texas in 2001. During the Berman trial, Durst testified that he'd fled to Texas when news broke that Kathie's case was being reopened. There, he bought a wig and hid out in a cheap apartment in Galveston, disguised as a mute woman. Durst became acquainted with Black, his neighbor. But that relationship, like several in Durst’s lives, ended in death and mystery. He shot him to death in 2001 before disposing of his dismembered remains in Galveston Bay. He claimed he shot Black in self-defense; the millionaire scion was acquitted of that murder at trial. Prosecutors at Berman's trial, put forth the theory that Durst killed Black because he'd discovered his true identity.

While Durst is now indicted for Kathie's death, whether he'll be fit enough to stand trial isn't clear. A new mugshot of Durst, obtained by Oxygen.com, was taken on Thursday; it shows the real estate heir looking frail while laying in bed.

Robert Durst

Terry Thornton, press security for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Deputy, told Oxygen.com by email on Monday that Durst’s current health information can not be discussed or disclosed due to federal and state laws which protect medical privacy.

Thornton did say that the killer was transferred to a medical facility last week.

Last month, it was reported that Durst was on a ventilator after being diagnosed with COVID-19.