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Man likely to testify against N.Y. real estate heir Durst fears for his life

By Brad Hunter, Toronto Sun

In this Dec. 21, 2016 file photo, real estate heir Robert Durst sits in a courtroom during a hearing in Los Angeles. One of the witnesses expected to testify against Durst is terrified he will be murdered. (AP/PHOTO)

In this Dec. 21, 2016 file photo, real estate heir Robert Durst sits in a courtroom during a hearing in Los Angeles. One of the witnesses expected to testify against Durst is terrified he will be murdered. (AP/PHOTO)

One of the witnesses expected to testify against New York real estate heir Robert Durst is terrified he will be murdered.

The secret witness - testifying at Wednesday’s preliminary hearing - is on the hotseat as a judge decides whether or not the eccentric Durst, 73, goes to trial.

The man’s testimony will be recorded in the event something happens to him.

Durst is accused of murdering his best friend, Susan Berman, in 2000 because he feared she was going to go to cops about the mysterious 1982 disappearance of his wife, Kathleen Durst.

Her body has never been found.

“Mr. Durst is accused of the murder of one witness, he has admitted to causing the death of a second individual who we believe was killed because he was a witness as well. And the special circumstance of this case is that he murdered his wife,” Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney John Lewin said at a hearing in December.

“Two of those three individuals, the people are alleging, were murdered because they were witnesses.”

Lewin added: “Mr. Durst has something in the order of $100 million. The witnesses in this case realistically, understandably are concerned about their safety.”

Meanwhile, Dr. Albert Kuperman, 85, a retired associate dean at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, testified that Kathleen Durst was a bright, attractive medical student. He revealed that she called him on Feb. 1, 1982 saying she was sick and would be off.

It was the last time anyone heard from Kathie Durst.

Durst’s lurid life was the subject of a six-part HBO documentary called The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst.

He was finally arrested two years ago in New Orleans just before the final episode aired.

He was heard muttering into a live mic: “You’re caught! What the hell did I do? Killed them all, of course.”

He has pleaded not guilty to one count of first-degree murder.

In 2001, Durst was accused of dismembering and beheading his Galveston, Texas neighbour Morris Black, 71. At the time, Durst wore dresses and wigs and was living as a mute woman.

A jury found him not guilty in 2003. Durst claimed he was drunk and the killing an accident.

With files from The Associated Press