A grand jury was empaneled in New York on Monday against convicted killer Robert Durst in connection with the 1982 disappearance of his wife, even as the prime suspect remains hospitalized on a ventilator in California after contracting COVID-19.
Westchester County prosecutors have begun presenting their case to jurors, including testimony from key witnesses, according to News 12 Westchester’s senior reporter Tara Rosenblum, who broke the story.
Members of the grand jury will be tasked with deciding whether to bring criminal charges against the ailing 78-year-old real estate heir.
Westchester County District Attorney Mimi Rocah earlier this month decided to seek an indictment against Durst in connection with the unsolved disappearance of his first wife, Kathleen McCormack Durst, 29, nearly four decades ago.
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A grand jury in New York is hearing a case against convicted killer Robert Durst, 78, pictured looking frail during his sentencing hearing in Los Angeles on October 14
The case in New York revolves around the 1982 disappearance of Durst’s first wife, Kathleen McCormack Durst (left), whose body was never found
As News 12 reported, friends and relatives of the missing woman were expected to testify before the grand jury.
The news comes just three days after he was hospitalized with COVID-19 and placed on a ventilator at LAC+USC Medical Center in Los Angeles.
A day earlier, Durst was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for murdering his best friend Susan Berman in 2000.
A multimillionaire whose grandfather founded one of New York City’s premier real estate companies, Durst was long a suspect but never charged in the disappearance of his wife.
During his trial in California, prosecutors argued that Durst killed Berman to silence her as she prepared to speak to New York authorities about Kathleen’s disappearance.
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
Kathleen vanished without a trace in New York in 1982, while she and Durst were said to be having martial problems.
The wife’s body has never been found and no one has ever been charged, although her family have long accused Durst of killing her.
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 in 2005 – of the 2001 murder of Morris Black (above) who he admitted dismembering
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, pictured in court in March 2020, is currently said to be on a ventilator
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.
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.