Secret Witness Set To Record Testimony Against Robert Durst
A pair of witnesses, one of them a secret witness, are scheduled to testify Tuesday morning at a hearing surrounding the Robert Durstcase. The hearing began at 10 a.m. at the Airport Branch Courthouse, according to CBS Los Angeles. Real estate heir Robert Durst, 73, is accused of murdering his friend, author Susan Berman, who was found dead in her home in Benedict Canyon in 2000. Berman had been shot once in the back of the head. It is alleged that Berman was murdered because she knew something about Durst's wife, Kathleen Durst, who disappeared in 1982. Durst has denied these allegations.
One of the witnesses is Albert Kuperman, the L.A. Times reports. Kuperman worked as the dean of Albert Einstein College of Medicine in 1982, where Kathleen Durst was a student. He has said that in 1982, he received a call from someone who identified themselves as Kathleen Durst. The prosecution believes this call was actually made by Berman, and that Kathleen Durst was dead at the time it was made. Kathleen Durst's body has never been found, though her family has asked that she be declared legally dead. They believed that Durst murdered her on January 31, 1982.
It is not clear who the other witness is, or what he intends to say.
Deputy District Attorney John Lewin said that he wished to record the testimony of Kuperman and the secret witness back in December, according to the Associated Press. Kuperman is in his 80s, and Lewin reasoned that if he were to pass away before the trial began, "we can't go back later and figure out anything he would have said." He also indicated that because Durst is accused of murdering people over what they may have known about Kathleen Durst's disappearance, he may still pose a threat to witnesses. The defense did not agree with Lewin's arguments, calling them "hyperbole."
L.A. Superior Court Judge Mark E. Windham agreed to allow the recorded testimony last month, City News Service reports. There is the possibility that the prosecution may ask to record the testimony of additional witnesses, including one more who is also a secret witness.
The trial itself may not commence until 2018.
Durst was also accused of killing his neighbor, Morris Black, whose torso was discovered in the Galveston Bay by a 13-year-old boy in 2001. Durst admitted that he had killed, dismembered and disposed of Black, yet argued that he had done so in self-defense. Durst was acquitted in 2003.
Durst was also the subject of HBO's The Jinx, during which he seemed to admit to the slayings when he went to the bathroom while wearing a microphone. He was heard mumbling, "What the hell did I do? Killed them all, of course." Durst was arrested in New Orleans in 2015, just before the final episode of The Jinx aired.