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Robert Durst charged with murdering first wife Kathie in New York

A document formally charging Robert Durst with murder in the death of his first wife was filed in a New York courthouse earlier this week, days after the real estate scion was sentenced to life in prison in California in the murder of his confidante, Susan Berman.

The one-page complaint formally charges Durst with second-degree murder in the death of Kathie McCormack in or around the home they shared in South Salem, N.Y., in 1982. The complaint, signed by a New York State Police investigator, was filed Tuesday. The move comes as the Westchester County district attorney’s office carries out grand jury proceedings seeking to charge Durst in his first wife’s death.

A spokeswoman for the district attorney’s office confirmed the agency knew of the complaint but offered no further comment.

While Durst has always said he last saw his wife boarding a Manhattan-bound train on Jan. 31, 1982, police and prosecutors have long suspected he killed McCormack. Witnesses at Durst’s Los Angeles murder trial testified that the couple’s marriage was in shambles around the time Kathie vanished and that she lived in fear of her husband.

“Robert Durst has now been formally charged with the murder of Kathleen McCormack Durst. We are very happy with this development,” the McCormack family said in a statement, declining to comment further until the end of grand jury proceedings in Westchester County.

Durst’s lead defense attorney, Dick DeGuerin, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Earlier this week, DeGuerin confirmed Durst had been placed on a ventilator in an L.A. hospital and is suffering from the effects of COVID-19.

This is a breaking news story and will be updated. Times staff writer Matthew Ormseth contributed to this report.

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