Murder defendant Robert Durst, 77, is scheduled for another court hearing in the middle of his suspended trial. You can watch in the player above. Court is scheduled to begin at 12 p.m. ET / 9 a.m. ET. The Law&Crime Network’s Jesse Weber and Linda Kennedy Baden will host live coverage.
Durst’s trial in the 2000 murder of friend Susan Berman has been in the making for two decades. Actually, it’s almost four decades if you count the uncharged 1982 disappearance of wife Kathleen McCormack Durst. The prosecution certainly does. In opening statements back in March, Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney John Lewin argued that the defendant killed his spouse, and slew Berman years later to keep her quiet about the truth. He sketched out a years-long trial of violence that included the 2002 shooting of Durst’s Texas neighbor Morris Black. (The defendant was acquitted of murder in that death in 2003 after claiming it was an accident and self-defense, but he was convicted of dismembering the corpse.)
The COVID-19 pandemic stalled the trial, however. It slowed down courts in Los Angeles County just as it had nationwide. Durst’s attorneys argued for a mistrial. Their argument: Too much time had passed since opening statements.
“In these circumstances, the jurors are particularly likely to conduct their own independent research regarding the case and/or discuss the case with friends or family in the more than two month gap in the presentation of evidence,” Durst’s lawyers argued in a filing obtained by Law&Crime.
They didn’t get their way. Judge Mark E. Windham denied their motion, and scheduled the case to resume July 27 with the same jury, assuming he didn’t decide the trial should be adjourned over ongoing issues with COVID-19.
Nonetheless, the pandemic postponed the case yet again. Los Angeles County trials are scheduled not to pick up again until August 10.
Aaron Keller contributed to this report.
[Image via Jae C. Hong-Pool/Getty Images]
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