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Albany Woman Charged with Kensington Murder Set to Enter Plea on Thursday

Diane Sydenham, 56, was arrested earlier this month in connection with the killing of Kensington psychologist James Durkin, 81. Click the "Keep me posted" button below this story for an update when we write about this case.

An Albany woman arrested earlier this month after an elderly Kensington psychologist was found stabbed to death with a steak knife to the heart is set to enter a plea in the case Thursday afternoon. 

Diane Sydenham, 56, is scheduled to appear in a Contra Costa County Superior courtroom in Richmond at 1:30 p.m., Aug. 30, to enter a plea. 

For up-to-the-minute breaking news updates about Thursday's hearing, follow Albany Patch on Facebook and Twitter.

Sydenham's case is set to be heard in the arraignment department, said senior deputy district attorney Harold Jewett, via email, on Wednesday. The George D. Carroll Courthouse is located at 100 37th St. in Richmond.

The Albany woman, whom many have described as a familiar face around town due to her regular walks along Solano Avenue, last appeared in court on Aug. 16. She was charged that day with murder but did not enter a plea.

Jewett told reporters at that time that authorities believe Sydenham plunged a six-inch-long serrated steak knife into the heart of 81-year-old James Durkin. Durkin's body was found on the morning of Aug. 13 in his Kensington home. 

The attorney who represented Sydenham on Aug. 16, Robert Beles of Oakland, told reporters that the connection between his client and the victim "was not a patient-doctor relationship."

Prosecutor Jewett described Sydenham and Durkin as "friends." 

Numerous people who came into contact with Sydenham in Albany described her as socially awkward and slightly odd, but not violent or aggressive.

Click the "Keep me posted" button below this story for an instant update when we write about this case.

If there's something in this article you think , or if something else is amiss, call editor Emilie Raguso at 510-459-8325 or email her at albany@patch.com.

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