Robert Durst charged with 1982 murder of wife Kathie Durst

BREAKING: Robert Durst, 78, is CHARGED with 1982 murder of his missing wife Kathie – just days after being sentenced to life in prison for killing his friend Susan Berman

  • Criminal complaint charging Robert Durst with second-degree murder was filed in suburban New York City on Tuesday
  • Durst, 78, is accused of killing wife Kathleen ‘Kathie’ Durst, who vanished on January 31, 1982 
  • Kathie’s body was never found but she was declared legally dead in 2017; Durst divorced Kathie in 1990 citing abandonment 
  • Durst was sentenced last week to life in prison for the 2000 murder of his friend Susan Berman, who prosecutors say helped him cover up Kathie’s killing 
  • Durst is in a California hospital on a ventilator after contracting COVID 

Robert Durst has been charged in suburban New York City with murdering his first wife, Kathie Durst, who vanished without a trace in 1982.

A state police investigator filed a criminal complaint on Tuesday at a town court in Lewisboro, New York, accusing the disgraced real estate heir of second-degree murder.

The action wasn’t announced at the time by any law enforcement officials or Westchester District Attorney Mimi Rocah, who recently convened a grand jury to consider charges.

‘The Westchester County District Attorney´s Office can confirm that a complaint charging Robert Durst with the murder of Kathleen Durst was filed in Lewisboro Town Court on October 19, 2021. We have no further comment at this time,’ her office said in a statement Friday.

New York real estate scion Robert Durst, 78, has been charged with second-degree murder for the 1982 killing of his first wife, Kathie. Durst is pictured in the courtroom on October 14 as he is sentenced to life in prison without chance of parole for another killing 

Kathleen McCormack Durst (left), was 29 years old when she vanished on January 29, 1982. Her body was never found  

The grand jury was empaneled last week and has started hearing witness testimony, a person familiar with the matter told The Associated Press this week. The person was not authorized to speak publicly about the matter and did so on condition of anonymity.

The grand jury process had been expected to take several weeks and include testimony from the victim’s family members and friends.

Robert Abrams, the attorney for Kathie’s family, told the New York Times on Friday that neither he nor his clients were aware of the charge being filed against Durst. 

‘Sometimes it takes 40 years for justice,’ he said. ‘We are grateful for the work, dedication and commitment of District Attorney Rocah and her staff.’ 

The criminal complaint filed in the Lewisboro Town Court by State Police investigator Joseph Beccera alleges that Durst caused the death of his wife at or near the cottage they shared on Hoyt Street in South Salem, New York, on or about January 31, 1982. 

Beccera has been working on Kathie Durst’s case for the past two decades.  

Durst, 78, was sentenced last week to life in prison without parole for murdering Susan Berman, his confidante who prosecutors say helped him cover up Kathie Durst’s killing. 

Los Angeles prosecutors say Durst shot Berman in 2000 as she was preparing to confess her role to police.

Durst, who has numerous medical issues, sat in a wheelchair during much of the sentencing hearing and in the days since has been hospitalized on a ventilator after testing positive for COVID-19, one of his lawyers said.

Kathie Durst was 29 when she vanished nearly 40 years ago. 

Her body was never found. At the request of her family, she was declared legally dead in 2017. Robert divorced Kathie in 1990 citing abandonment.

Durst was sentenced to life in prison for the 2000 murder of his friend Susan Berman (left); a day later, he was hospitalized for COVID

He has never been charged in her disappearance despite several efforts over the years to close the case. 

Berman is thought to have helped Durst cover his tracks after his wife’s disappearance, posing as Kathie to phone her medical school to say she was sick on the morning after she was last seen alive. 

Durst was convicted in Los Angeles Superior Court last month of first-degree murder for shooting Berman point-blank in the back of the head.

Durst was also charged – and acquitted at a 2005 trial – of the 2001 murder of his neighbor Morris Black in Galveston, Texas, despite admitting to chopping his body up into multiple pieces with an ax and a bow saw.

Durst had claimed he accidentally shot Black in the head when they were both wrestling over Durst’s firearm which Black had gotten hold of.

He dismembered his body and dumped it in the sea in plastic bags which were discovered by authorities.

The only body part never found was Black’s head – making Durst’s version of events difficult to disprove.

The real estate scion had wound up being neighbors with Black when he was reportedly hiding from New York authorities in the small town in Texas.

Prosecutors during his trial for Berman’s murder argued Durst murdered Black when he discovered his true identity as the man suspected of killing his wife in New York.

Durst was also charged – and acquitted in 2005 – of the 2001 murder of Morris Black (above) who he admitted dismembering

DA Rocah reopened the investigation back in May into Kathie’s disappearance – a case that has plagued the DA’s office for decades.

The original investigation was only ever launched as a missing persons case and no search of the Durst’s home was carried out.

In 2000, then-DA Jeanine Pirro reopened the case into Kathie’s disappearance at a time when Berman’s death was being investigated in LA and Durst was facing charges over Black’s death in Texas.

Authorities searched a lake and the Durst couple´s home, but, once again, no charges were brought.

Berman’s killing had been a mystery that haunted family and friends for 15 years before Durst was arrested in 2015 following his unwise decision to participate in the documentary The Jinx: The Life And Deaths Of Robert Durst, which unearthed new evidence and caught him in a stunning hot mic confession. 

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