Robert Durst may be sick—but not sick enough to get out of being tried for murder.
On Monday, a Los Angeles Superior Court judge rejected his defense team’s motion for a mistrial, claiming the 78-year-old real estate heir and accused killer is “too sick to continue” and that the judge should “put a stop” to the proceedings.
“He has endured 11 weeks of trial, but remains mentally present,” Superior Court Judge Mark Windham said. It’s the third time the court has rejected the defense’s attempts to get a mistrial or to delay the trial indefinitely because of health issues that have plagued Durst, who’s accused of killing his good friend Susan Berman in her L.A. home in 2000.
Jurors are set to return to the courtroom on Tuesday, when the defense is expected to begin presenting its case.
JULY 30, 2021—Robert Durst’s lead attorney asked a Los Angeles Superior Court judge on Thursday to grant an emergency motion for mistrial, claiming the 78-year-old real estate heir and accused killer is “too sick to continue” and that the judge should “put a stop” to the proceedings.
As Los Angeles Daily News reports, this is the third time attorney Dick DeGuerin has asked Judge Mark Windham to end or indefinitely delay the trial on medical grounds since it began again after being temporary halted for the pandemic last year.
Windham rejected both previous bids to end the trial—in which Durst is accused of gunning down his friend, writer Susan Berman, in her Benedict Canyon home in 2000 because she knew too much about the 1982 disappearance of his wife, Kathleen, whose body has never been found—but said he would give the latest request serious consideration.
“Mr. Durst is too sick to continue,” DeGuerin claimed at Thursday’s hearing. “He’s too sick to make the decision whether to testify. It’s cruel and unusual for Mr. Durst to be put through this in his condition. You should put a stop to this.”
Deputy District Attorney John Lewin was less sympathetic to Durst’s alleged suffering, saying, “What is very clear is Mr. Durst wants a mistrial any way he can get it… What this is, is not a request for a mistrial. What this really is, is a request for Mr. Durst to get a go home, get out of jail free card and never be tried again.”
Lewin pointed out that Durst had “very serious cancer in 2005” and “he’s still here,” adding, “He will probably outlive us all.”
Dr. Keith Klein, who examined Durst’s medical records, testified for the defense during a session without the jury present that it was “inconceivable” for Durst to testify on his own behalf.
Asked by DeGuerin if Durst was “presently at serious risk to his health and survival,” Klein responded, “Absolutely.”
Earlier this month, the case was held up for several hours because Durst had diarrhea.
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