New York’s Robert Durst is in a Los Angeles courtroom this week waiting to see if a judge will decide that there is enough evidence for the multimillionaire to stand trial in the slaying of longtime friend Susan Berman in 2000.
Durst, a heir to the fortune of the multimillion-dollar Durst Organization, a Manhattan real estate group, was acquitted of murder in the 2001 killing and dismemberment of Morris Black, his elderly neighbor in Galveston, Texas.
Since the beginning of the hearing Monday, prosecutors have argued that Durst killed Berman to cover up the disappearance of his first wife Kathleen McCormack Durst, a former New Hyde Park resident, who vanished on Jan. 31, 1982.
A graduate of New Hyde Park Memorial High School, McCormack disappeared at the age of 29, and in 2001, she was declared legally dead.
According to the New York Daily News, Farmingdale resident Karen Minutello was the second witness called to the stand for the prosecution and said Kathleen called her on Jan. 25, 1982, frantically looking for a new place to stay away from her husband.
In 2015, McCormack’s mother, Ann McCormack, also of New Hyde Park, filed a $100 million lawsuit in state Supreme Court in Mineola, alleging Durst murdered her daughter and caused the family “extreme emotional distress, humiliation, mental and physical anguish, as well as economic losses” by keeping her body hidden.
“It is as if she vanished from the face of the Earth,” says the suit, filed by Lake Success attorney Robert Abrams.
At the conclusion of the HBO true-crime series “The Jinx” by filmmaker Andrew Jarecki, Durst, upon being confronted with new evidence in the murder of Berman, mutters to himself in the bathroom, “What the hell did I do? Killed them all, of course.”
Durst was arrested in New Orleans in March 2015.
In addition to the murder charges, Durst faces two felony charges in New Orleans for the possession of a .38-caliber revolver and five ounces of marijuana found in his hotel room. A judge on Monday determined Durst to be a flight risk and ordered him held in prison without bail.
In Los Angeles, where he faces the murder charges, Durst would be eligible for the death penalty.