Hurricane Harvey's impact blows Durst hearing into next year

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A hearing to determine if New York real estate heir Robert Durst goes on trial for murder was delayed Wednesday until next year.

A Los Angeles Superior Court judge postponed the hearing, originally scheduled next month, until April 16 to determine if there's enough evidence to try Durst for the killing of his close friend, Susan Berman.

Judge Mark Windham postponed the hearing because Hurricane Harvey damaged the homes and offices of some of Durst's lawyers, who live in Houston, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Windham will have already heard an earful by next year as a parade of elderly witnesses have been testifying in a series of unusual conditional hearings captured on video in case they die or become incapacitated before an eventual trial.

Several witnesses have said they fear the wealthy defendant could have them knocked off, prosecutors said.

Witnesses, so far, have put Durst in Los Angeles around the time of the killing in December 2000 and say he acknowledged taking out Berman.

Durst, 74, has pleaded not guilty to murder in the fatal shooting. Prosecutors allege the multimillionaire killed Berman to prevent her from telling police what she knew about the mysterious 1982 disappearance of his wife, Kathleen Durst.

Berman, a writer and the daughter of a mob boss, had been Durst's best friend since college and acted as an unofficial spokeswoman after his wife vanished.

A mutual friend of both victim and suspect said Berman told him that Durst admitted to her that he killed his wife.

The friend, Nathan "Nick" Chavin, said Durst later told him he had killed Berman, saying "It was her or me, I had no choice."

 Another friend said Berman told her if something ever happened, "Bobby did it."

Miriam Barnes testified in April that the meaning of those words didn't sink in until she was at Berman's funeral decades later.

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