Billionaire heir murder suspect Robert Durst will not get a pandemic pass.
A Los Angeles judge denied his mistrial bid Tuesday after his long-awaited jury trial for the 2000 murder of his best friend Susan Berman was suspended March 16 due to coronavirus concerns.
Judge Mark Windham ruled that Durst’s right to a fair trial has not been compromised by the extended hiatus and can reasonably resume July 27 in a larger courtroom in Inglewood with new social distancing measures.
He set a pretrial motions hearing for July 17 to possibly resume discussion on the matter.
Durst’s lead defense lawyer Dick DeGuerin spoke to the Daily News after Tuesday’s ruling and said he’s not sure he’ll be able to attend if the trial starts before current pandemic conditions improve.
“I’m under strict orders by my doctor not to travel or be anyplace where there’s a point of contagion, like a courtroom or courthouse, no matter how many measures you take,” the 79-year-old trial attorney said. “With my underlying condition, it would be a death sentence to get COVID.”DeGuerin has long represented Durst and helped him an acquittal when the Manhattan real estate scion was charged with murdering his neighbor Morris Black in Galveston, Texas.
Durst is on trial for allegedly murdering Berman execution-style in her Los Angeles bungalow to keep her from speaking to New York prosecutors about his missing first wife, Kathie Durst. Prosecutors claim Durst was an abusive husband who killed Kathie in 1982 and later drafted Berman to help him cover his tracks. They allege Durst murdered Berman 18 years later to guarantee her silence amid a renewed investigation.
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Written By: Tommy Lightfoot Garrett
Photographs are Courtesy: HBO
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