Robert Durst, the notorious heir to the family’s real estate fortune and now a convicted murderer, has been indicted for murder in the killing of wife Kathie Durst, almost four decades after her disappearance.
The decision came from a grand jury in New York’s Westchester County on Monday, according to the Associated Press. The indictment for second-degree murder comes almost two weeks after an investigator filed a second-degree murder complaint against Durst, which typically precedes a formal charge.
Kathie McCormack Durst disappeared in January 1982 from her home in the county. She has been presumed dead for years, but her body was never found. Robert Durst previously admitted to lying about his whereabouts during his wife’s disappearance.
Westchester County prosecutors reopened their investigation into Kathie’s disappearance earlier this year.
“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 of the indictment, according to the AP.
Durst is already serving a life sentence for the killing of his friend Susan Berman in 2000. During his Los Angeles trial, prosecutors argued Durst killed Berman because he was fearful she was going to come forward with information regarding his wife’s disappearance.
Lawyers for Durst are expected to appeal his life sentence without parole.
Durst’s deteriorating health may prevent him from facing trial in Kathie Durst’s death. The former real estate heir was recently admitted to a hospital and tested positive for Covid-19. He was put on a respirator, although a recent mug shot did not appear to show signs of a ventilator, per the AP.
Chip Lewis, a lawyer for Durst, called the indictment “Fake News!”
“Not sure he will make it,” Lewis told the AP in regards to whether or not Durst could eventually be moved to New York as the case unfolds. “But if he does, I’ll let you know.”
An attorney for Kathie Durst’s family expressed gratitude after the complaint was filed two weeks ago; the family has not commented on the indictment publicly.
[AP] — Holden Walter-Warner