Millionaire real estate heir Robert Durst has been charged with the murder of his former wife who vanished in 1982, US police have said.
A state police investigator filed a criminal complaint on Tuesday at a New York court, accusing the 78-year-old of second-degree murder of Kathie Durst.
Last week, Durst was sentenced to life in prison without parole for murdering his best friend Susan Berman, whom prosecutors say helped him cover up Kathie’s killing.
The trial – which began in March last year but was adjourned for 14 months due to the coronavirus pandemic – came six years after Durst’s apparent confession to multiple killings in the HBO TV series The Jinx.
Prosecutors said that Ms Berman had helped him provide a false alibi in relation to the disappearance of his wife.
They say Durst shot Susan Berman in 2000 in the back of the head at her home as she was preparing to confess her role to police.
Durst, a cancer survivor who uses a wheelchair, spent 15 days testifying during the trial, claiming he had found his friend’s body when he went to visit her.
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He now has a host of medical issues, and in the days since the sentencing hearing has been hospitalised on a ventilator after testing positive for COVID-19, one of his lawyers said.
Kathie Durst, a medical student, was 29 when she vanished on 31 January 1982, and her body has never been found.
She was declared legally dead in 2017 at the request of her family.
Durst subsequently divorced Kathie in 1990, citing abandonment, and has never been charged over her disappearance despite several efforts over the years to close the case.
But he has long been a suspect, and Westchester County District Attorney Mimi Rocah reopened the case in May.
Authorities previously reopened the case in 1999, searching a lake and the couple’s home.
Durst, believed to be worth $100m (£73m), had only been on trial for killing Ms Berman, but prosecutors have accused him of murdering two others, including his wife.
He was also tried but acquitted of the murder and dismemberment of his Texas neighbour Morris Black in 2001, who discovered his identity while he was hiding from the police.
He had claimed Mr Black was shot accidentally when the two men fought over a gun.
Durst is the grandson of Joseph Durst, founder of the Durst Organisation – one of Manhattan’s largest commercial property firms.
His father, Seymour, then took charge of the company and later gave it to a younger brother, Douglas.