LOS ANGELES (CN) — A New York judge on Wednesday ordered two friends of Robert Durst to testify at a pretrial hearing in the real estate scion’s murder case in Los Angeles.
Los Angeles County prosecutors had subpoenaed Stewart and Emily Altman to take the stand this month to talk about Durst’s state of mind when he left New York for Texas after his wife Kathie Durst’s 1982 disappearance, disguising himself as a woman and acting mute.
Elizabeth Johnson, an attorney for the Altmans, said they would appeal Nassau County Judge Christopher Quinn’s ruling that they are “material and necessary witnesses,” according to wire reports. Stewart Altman met Durst in high school in the early 1960s.
Prosecutors say Durst murdered his friend, journalist and author Susan Berman, 17 years ago in Los Angeles. Investigators also suspect Durst of killing his wife, who disappeared in 1982.
A Texas jury acquitted Durst of the murder of his elderly neighbor Morris Black, whom Durst had dismembered and dumped into Galveston Bay. He was charged in 2001 but claimed he’d acted in self-defense.
Los Angeles prosecutors believe he shot Berman in 2000 because she had information about the disappearance of Kathie Durst. Berman was found in her Benedict Canyon home on Christmas Eve.
Durst has pleaded not guilty to the charges filed in March 2015. He faces one count of first-degree murder. He is expected to return to court on July 24.
The night after FBI agents arrested Durst in New Orleans, HBO aired the sixth and final episode of “The Jinx,” a documentary series about the millionaire, which examined the disappearance of Kathie as well as the killings of Black and Berman.