Kensington Murder Case Put Over to Next Year

Diane Sydenham, the Albany woman charged with killing 81-year-old James Durkin of Kensington with a steak knife to the heart, appeared in court Thursday, but the case was put over to next year because of continuing investigation.

At a brief court hearing Thursday, the case of a jailed Albany woman accused of killing a retired 81-year-old psychologist with a steak knife to his heart in his Kensington apartment was put over to January because lab results and interviews are not yet completed, one of her attorneys said.

The suspect, Diane Sydenham, 57, was led by a bailiff into the Richmond courtroom for the afternoon hearing, in which she conferred with her two attorneys, the father-daughter team of Robert and Anne Beles.

Contra Costa County Superior Court Judge Edward Weil agreed to set a new date of Jan. 31 for the next hearing.

After the hearing was over, Robert Beles told Patch that the delay was occasioned by "ongoing discovery" and pending lab reports. The continuing investigation involves interviewing "many individuals who knew both parties," he said.

Sydenham, who is being held on $2 million bail, is charged with murdering her acquaintance, James Durkin, in his in-law unit in a home in the 600 block of Coventry Road in Kensington. His body was found with the knife stuck in his chest on Aug. 13. She pleaded not guilty at a Sept. 20 hearing. 

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