Robert Durst Successfully Defends Against Lawsuit Accusing Him of Killing His Wife

Samuel Allegri
By Samuel Allegri
August 7, 2019USshare
Robert Durst Successfully Defends Against Lawsuit Accusing Him of Killing His Wife
New York real estate scion Robert Durst appears in the Los Angeles Superior Court Airport Branch for a pre-trial motions hearing involving witnesses that are expected to testify before the trial in Los Angeles, California on January 6, 2017. The 73-year-old Durst, whose bizarre life was the focus of an acclaimed HBO series, is charged with the 2000 execution-style killing of longtime friend Susan Berman. / AFP / POOL / Mark Boster (Photo credit should read MARK BOSTER/AFP/Getty Images)

New York state court Justice Paul A. Goetz dismissed a wrongful-death lawsuit accusing Robert Durst in the disappearance of his wife in 1982.

The ruling was handed down on Aug. 6, according to Courthouse News.

Carol Bamonte, the sister of Durst’s first wife, Kathleen Bamonte, waited too long to file the suit.

Kathleen’s body was never found but she was ruled dead on Jan. 31, 1982.

The statute of limitations dictates that Bamonte had two years to sue Durst. She accused him in March of killing Kathleen because she had plans to expose the Durst family’s illegal business activities.

Bamonte and her lawyer sought to gain an exception to the statute of limitations, saying that Durst was charged with killing his friend Susan Berman in California. She was killed to prevent her from giving information about Durst’s involvement in Kathleen’s death to the police.

However, Justice Goetz believed that the two cases are separate, reported the New York Post.

“The California criminal action and this action for wrongful death clearly arise from different events,” Goetz wrote.

“It is well-established both under the plain language of the statute and the relevant case law, that the wrongful death claims accrue 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.”

He said that there could be an exception to the statute of limitations only if Durst is charged with Kathleen’s murder.

“We are disappointed but remain encouraged that Robert Durst will eventually be charged and convicted for Kathie’s murder in New York state,” said Bamonte’s lawyer Robert Abrams. “Sometimes it takes four decades to secure justice for a murder victim and her family.”

Durst agreed to participate in a 2015 HBO documentary series “The Jinx” where he was recorded in the bathroom saying he “killed them all” while apparently having forgotten he was wearing a live microphone.

“What the hell did I do? Killed them all, of course,” Durst said when left alone in the recording studio.

He was arrested in March 2015, not long before the publication of the finale of “The Jinx.”

Texas Murder

This wasn’t Durst’s first brush with murder. Not long after Berman’s death in Sept. 2001, Durst confessed to killing his neighbor, Morris Black, dismembering him, putting his body parts into garbage bags, and then dumping them into Galveston Bay in Texas.

But the jury acquitted him following a trial in 2003. His defense lawyers successfully convinced them that Durst had shot Black in self-defense after the two struggled over a gun.

The lawyers—one of whom will represent Durst again in the Los Angeles case—said that Durst and Black were initially close friends. Durst broke off the friendship after Black began to behave erratically, according to a report by CNN during the trial.

The lawyers further explained that Black snuck into Durst’s apartment and took his pistol, leading to their struggle over the weapon. Durst butchered up his neighbor in a state of panic.

“I could understand Durst’s panic,” juror Joanne Gongora told CNN in November 2003. “I can understand his drug-induced state. I can understand his life.”

Jurors found the prosecution’s version of what happened harder to believe. They sought to portray Durst as a calculating murderer who planned to kill Black to assume his identity. Prosecutors said that Durst testified that he had disguised himself as a mute woman while in Galveston. He was hoping to escape the attention of New York investigators who were still after him for his wife’s disappearance.

The Epoch Times reporter Annie Wu contributed to this report

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