Secret witness: Durst told best friend that he killed his wife
Secret witness: Durst told best friend that he killed his wife
17 February, 2017, 00:45
The secret witness - testifying at Wednesday's preliminary hearing - is on the hotseat as a judge decides whether or not the eccentric Durst, 73, goes to trial. Prosecutors suggest in court papers that it could have been Berman who made the call to Kuperman and pretended to be Kathleen Durst - at Robert Durst's request.
The testimony from Nick Chavin, 72, a NY advertising executive, appeared to buttress the assertions of prosecutors that Durst killed his longtime confidante Susan Berman in December 2000 because of what she knew about his wife's unsolved demise in 1982.
While Durst's trial in Berman's murder is not likely to take place for at least another year, prosecutors had asked that Chavin testify early out of fear he might be killed before trial.
The murder case against NY real estate heir Robert Durst took a trip back in time Tuesday to the mysterious disappearance of his first wife in 1982.
A prosecutor also asked Chavin Wednesday if he believed Durst was involved in his first wife's disappearance at the time that she vanished.
Judge Mark Windham invoked rare procedures in allowing Chavin and one other witness to testify on videotape in case either of them dies or is incapacitated before Durst's trial, which is not expected to begin before next year.
During his testimony earlier in the week, Chavin - a NY advertising executive - said that Kathleen was afraid of her husband, even fearing he might physically harm her.
On Tuesday, retired physician Dr. Albert Kuperman testified about a mysterious, decades-old phone call he received while associate dean of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine where Kathie was studying.
"I said, 'No, he didn't.' She said, 'Yes, he did,"' the witness said.
Chavin testified he met Durst in NY around 1980 and the two soon became close friends, with Durst eventually serving as a best man at Chavin's wedding.
Chavin also testified that Berman had said it was important to "protect" their mutual friend, Robert Durst, because nothing could be done to bring back his wife.
He said he was in "extreme shock" and "disbelief" after learning that Durst had dismembered his neighbor, Morris Black, in Galveston, Texas, in 2001, because he believed Durst was not capable of such of hands-on violence. Kathie Durst was never found, but Deputy District Attorney Habib Balian said Tuesday that authorities believe it's a "no-body homicide". But Durst claimed self-defense and was ultimately acquitted of murder.
Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney John Lewin told the court he also needed to get Chavin's testimony on record now because of his age. She said, however, that Durst would have had his own living space.
"She was having a bad time with her marriage", he said. The defense team described Bagli and Chavin as friends and said they did not want him in the courtroom to hear the testimony in case they were compelled to call the reporter to the stand.
"That man kills witnesses".
"Mr. Durst is in custody. Mr".
Robert Durst will return to Los Angeles to face a first-degree murder charge after a ruling from a New Orleans judge.
Durst is not involved in managing his NY family's significant real estate holdings.
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