CALIFORNIA— On June 23, a Los Angeles Superior Judge denied a request for mistrial in relation to the Robert Durst murder trial that has been on hold during the coronavirus pandemic due to a halt in court proceedings.
Durst, 77-year-old real estate heir from New York, has been on trial since Nov. 2016 in California for several charges of alleged murder of multiple women: Kathleen McCormack Durst—first wife— who disappeared in New York in 1982, alongside Susan Berman, who was killed in her Benedict Canyon home in 2000, and his neighbor Morris Black who was killed in Texas in 2001.
Berman was Durst’s lifelong friend.
Judge Mark Windham has been overseeing the trial since Durst was transferred to California for arraignment. Durst was charged in 2018 for first-degree murder of Berman after Windham had ruled there was sufficient evidence.
The trial began March 2, 2020 but only lasted six days before Judge Windham announced that due to the COVID-19 outbreak, it would have to be postponed to a later time. On April 30, Durst’s team filed a mistrial request stating there can be a “risk that jurors will not be accurately able to recall the evidence introduced prior to adjournment is heightened here.”
Judge Windham denied the request and a spokeswoman for the court, Mary Hearn, stated they will begin the trial in a larger courtroom in the Inglewood courthouse and abide by the safety protocols put into place during the pandemic.