Los Angeles Times

Prosecutors say Durst murdered his best friend to cover his tracks for killing another woman: His wife.

LOS ANGELES - As Los Angeles County prosecutors pieced together their murder case against Robert Durst - the eccentric New York real estate scion accused of killing his best friend Susan Berman in 2000 - they followed a path that led to the opposite coast and decades into the past.

Another devastated family. Another police investigation. Another woman close to Durst: his first wife, Kathleen, who disappeared in New York in 1982.

The fates of both women, prosecutors argue, are intrinsically connected. Their theory: Durst killed Berman to keep her from telling authorities what she knew about his involvement in his wife's disappearance. Although her body has never been recovered, prosecutors - and Kathleen's family - believe she was slain by her husband. Durst was never charged in connection with her disappearance.

A preliminary hearing to determine whether Durst will stand trial in Berman's slaying is scheduled to begin Monday. Berman, an author and longtime confidant,

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