Too Late for Sister-in-Law to Sue Robert Durst

MANHATTAN (CN) – A wrongful-death lawsuit for the disappearance of Robert Durst’s first wife is 35 years too late, a New York judge ruled Monday.

In this Dec. 21, 2016, file photo, real estate heir Robert Durst is brought into a courtroom in a wheelchair for a hearing in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, Pool, File)

Durst, the real estate heir who ostensibly confessed on a hot lapel microphone in the finale episode of the 2015 HBO documentary series “The Jinx,” got hit with the lawsuit earlier this year by Carol Bamonte, the sister of his first wife, Kathleen.

Though Kathleen disappeared without a trace in 1982, relatives only began the process of having her declared decease a year after Durst’s “Jinx” bombshell.

“What the hell did I do? Killed them all, of course,” Durst had said when left alone in an interview room, apparently forgetful of the microphone.

Though Bamonte insisted that she brought the suit within two years of the certificate declaring Kathleen dead, Justice Paul Goetz found this too late Monday.

“It is well-established both under the plain language of the statute and the relevant case law, that the wrongful death claims accrues at the time of the decedent’s death,” Goetz wrote. “Given that Kathleen Durst died in 1982 and this action was not commenced until 2019, defendant has met his prima facie burden of showing that the action is time-barred.”

Robert Abrams, an attorney for Bamonte with Abrams Fensterman, voiced disappointment but said he remains “encouraged that Robert Durst will eventually be charged and convicted for Kathie’s murder in New York state.”

While never formally charged in Kathleen’s disappearance, Durst’s admission in “The Jinx” led to his arrest in 2015 for the 2000 killing in Los Angeles of his friend Susan Berman. Prosecutors contend that Berman had helped Durst cover up his involvement in Kathleen’s death, and that Durst shot Berman in the back of the head to keep her from talking after a new investigation into Kathleen had been opened. A year later, Durst surfaced in Texas where the dismembered body parts of his neighbor, Morris Black, were found floating in the Galveston Bay. Durst had been posing as a woman in the community, and a jury acquitted Durst of Black’s 2001 murder.

Durst’s criminal trial on Berman’s death is slated to begin in Los Angeles Superior Court next year.

Abrams maintained in his filing that the Los Angeles prosecutor will be required to prove that Robert Durst killed Kathleen Durst in order to charge Berman’s death as a special circumstances murder of a witness under California Penal Code Section 190.2.

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