It’s been more than three years since the arrest of eccentric New York real estate heir Robert Durst in the execution-style shooting of his best friend years earlier in Los Angeles.
Prosecutors could move closer to bringing him to trial if they can show probable cause at a hearing beginning Monday that Durst killed Susan Berman to silence her from revealing what she knew about the death of the multimillionaire’s first wife.
Durst, 75, has pleaded not guilty. With all that has emerged about him publicly from an HBO documentary series and a string of unusual court hearings, it seems likely a Los Angeles Superior Court judge will order the case to trial.
Prosecutors have started recording testimony over the past year of older witnesses who might not be available if there is a trial. Some of the testimony includes strong evidence against Durst, who already has been cleared in an unrelated 2003 Texas killing.
Chavin and other friends of Berman said she told them Durst had killed his first wife, Kathleen, who disappeared in 1982 in suburban New York and has never been found.
Berman, a writer and daughter of a Las Vegas mobster, said she helped Durst cover his tracks and told one friend that if anything ever happened to her, Durst would be the culprit.
In the HBO documentary, “The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst,” he is heard muttering to himself on a live microphone: “You’re caught! What the hell did I do? Killed them all, of course.”
The challenge, however, will be getting any of that evidence before a jury.
“All kinds of evidentiary issues are going to be a battle in this case,” said Stanley Goldman, a professor at Loyola Law School.