Mr. Durst has never been charged in connection with his wife’s disappearance despite investigations by the New York Police Department, the State Police and the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office. His lawyers have emphasized that there was no weapon, fingerprints or fibers connecting him to her disappearance and death.
On Friday, after the verdict was announced, the family of Mr. Durst’s wife issued a statement calling on prosecutors to pursue a case in her death as well. “Although Durst has now been rightly convicted of killing Susan Berman, who helped him conceal the truth about Kathie’s death, the McCormack family is still waiting for justice,” the statement said. “Kathie is still waiting for justice.”
Kathie McCormack had married Mr. Durst in 1973 after a whirlwind romance.
But the relationship had descended into arguments, pushing and shoving, Mr. Durst acknowledged in interviews with filmmakers. Amid escalating violence in the marriage, Kathie McCormack Durst suddenly vanished on Jan. 31, 1982.
Ms. Berman, a journalist, acted as Mr. Durst’s media liaison during the ensuing tabloid frenzy. Prosecutors said he had confided in Ms. Berman, who helped him evade the authorities. It was Ms. Berman, prosecutors said, who made a critical phone call while posing as Mr. Durst’s wife that made it appear that she was still alive and steered detectives away from the actual crime scene.
The disappearance of Kathie McCormack Durst has long been both in the background and at the core of this case against Mr. Durst.
During the trial, evidence was introduced that placed Mr. Durst at Ms. Berman’s house in December 2000. For nearly 20 years, Mr. Durst had denied that he was even in Los Angeles at the time of her killing. He also had denied that he was the author of an anonymous note sent to the Police Department alerting officers to the presence of a “cadaver” at Ms. Berman’s home, on the edge of Beverly Hills.
In hearings that took place before the trial, Mr. Durst’s lawyers vigorously disputed evidence by document examiners who had identified Mr. Durst as the author of that note. But a friend of Mr. Durst’s, Emily Altman, under withering questioning by Mr. Lewin, blurted out that Mr. Durst had told her he was in Beverly Hills at the time of Ms. Berman’s death.