The jailed Albany woman accused of killing a retired 81-year-old psychologist with a steak knife to his heart in his Kensington apartment appeared in shackles at a court hearing Thursday.
The suspect, Diane Sydenham – who turns 57 today, Oct. 26 – appeared more relaxed and less anxious than she had at previous hearings. After being led into the courtroom and before the hearing began, she occasionally smiled and talked in a friendly manner with her two attorneys, the father-daughter team of Robert and Anne Beles.
The hearing was soon concluded after Deputy District Attorney Dominique Yancey told Contra Costa County Superior Court Judge Patricia Scanlon that additional testing is still being conducted and requested a continuation of the case. The next hearing was set for Dec. 6 at 1:30 p.m.
Sydenham, who is being held on $2 million bail, pleaded not guilty at her previous hearing on Sept. 20. She 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.
Her past hearings at the Richmond courthouse were held in a first-floor courtroom furnished with an interior cell with bars, behind which she was kept during the hearings. Thursday's hearing took place in a second-floor courtroom where she was seated in the jury box, wearing handcuffs shackled to a chain around her waist.
Robert Beles said after the hearing that the additional testing needed in the case includes laboratory and forensic tests.
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