WESTCHESTER COUNTY, New York (WABC) -- Robert Durst has been indicted for murder in Westchester County in the death of his former wife, Kathie, who disappeared in 1982.
Durst, 78, was charged by a Westchester County Grand Jury in an indictment on Monday with murder.
Durst previously was charged in a complaint filed on October 19, 2021 with murder.
"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," DA Miriam Rocah said. "The District Attorney's Office reinvigorated its investigation into Robert Durst just 10 months ago when I took Office, launched the Cold Case Bureau, and dedicated the resources and skill that I thought this case deserved. Thanks to the incredible hard work of our Assistant District Attorneys, the District Attorney's Criminal Investigators and the New York State Police, we have taken a huge step forward in the pursuit of justice for Kathie Durst, her family and victims of domestic violence everywhere."
The New York real estate heir was sentenced last month to life in prison without chance of parole for the murder of his best friend more than two decades ago.
Durst was convicted in Los Angeles Superior Court in September of first-degree murder for shooting Susan Berman point-blank in the back of the head at her home in December 2000.
The sentencing came after Berman's family members addressed the court describing her as a warm person who's been deeply missed.
"It has been a daily, soul consuming and crushing experience," Sareb Kaufman said of her murder. Kaufman's father was Susan Berman's boyfriend and he considered himself her son.
Durst silenced Berman to prevent her from incriminating him in the reopened investigation of his wife's 1982 disappearance in New York, prosecutors said.
Berman provided a phony alibi for Durst when Kathie Durst vanished, prosecutors said.
Durst testified that he didn't kill either woman, but said on cross-examination that he would lie if he had.
Kathie Durst was 29 and in her final months of medical school when she was last seen. She and Robert Durst, who was 38 at the time, had been married nearly nine years and were living in South Salem, a community in Lewisboro. Her body was never found. At the request of her family, she was declared legally dead in 2017.
Robert Durst's family owns more than 16 million square feet of real estate in New York and Philadelphia, including a 10% stake in One World Trade Center, the Manhattan skyscraper formerly known as the Freedom Tower. Family members bought out Robert Durst's stake in the business for $65 million in 2006.
In the 2015 HBO documentary "The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst," Durst appeared to admit killing people and admitted he made up details about what happened the night she disappeared because he was "hoping that would just make everything go away."
Durst, testifying in the Los Angeles trial in August, denied killing Kathie Durst. After her medical school called to report that she hadn't been going to class, he said he figured she was "out someplace having fun" and suggested that perhaps drug use was to blame.
"It hadn't occurred to me that anything had happened to her," Durst said, speaking slowly in a strained, raspy voice. "It was more like: What had Kathie done to Kathie?"
Asked if he had any reaction to the indictment, Durst lawyer Chip Lewis replied in an email: "Fake news!"
(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
Submit a News Tip