The Los Angeles Times reports that prosecutors in the Robert Durst case are attempting to charge the New York real estate tycoon with murder. Susan Berman, a crime writer, was murdered in 2000 in her Los Angeles home. Photos of the crime scene, including where a bullet pierced Berman’s skull, were presented in a preliminary hearing in court on Monday.
Durst has pleaded not guilty in the murder of Berman, but prosecutors believe he killed her to cover his tracks in the 1982 disappearance of his wife, Kathleen. Her remains have never been recovered.
A missing persons investigation was conducted by New York police at the time of Kathleen’s disappearance, but evidence was not found that linked Durst to the event.
The coroner testifying in court says the star-shaped bullet hole in the back of Berman’s head was a tell tale sign of a close-range gunshot. He believes the muzzle of the gun was either touching her head or within an inch of it when it was fired.
There were times during the hearing that Durst, now 75 years old, appeared to fall asleep.
Another witness who managed the building where Durst and his wife lived in 1982 said that Kathleen had asked her if there were any vacant apartments available shortly before her disappearance. Kathleen told the manager that she no longer wanted to live with Durst and was afraid of him.
Just days after her disappearance, the manager found a porter in the building basement taking clothes, books, makeup and other items out of clogged trash compactor. One of the books had Kathleen’s name on it.
Durst then allegedly asked her if he could sublease the apartment he shared with Kathleen days prior to reporting her missing to police.
An old friend of Durst’s also testified in court last year that Durst had confessed to killing Berman. Durst was arrested in a New Orleans hotel on March 14, 2015.
Durst also formerly faced charges for the murder of his neighbor in Texas, but was acquitted in 2003 after he claimed the gun went off during a struggle with the victim. He did admit to dismembering his body and dumping it in the Galveston Bay.
*Photo credit Mark Boster/Los Angeles Times/TNS