General Crime

* Diane Sydenham allegedly murdered 81-year-old retired psychology professor James Durkin in Albany

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An Albany woman accused of stabbing her elderly companion to death in his Kensington home in mid-August is set to enter a plea to murder charges later this month, a prosecutor said. Diane Sydenham, 56, appeared for arraignment in a Richmond courtroom this week for allegedly murdering 81-year-old retired psychology professor James Durkin by stabbing him in the chest, according to prosecutors.

On Aug. 13, officers responding to Durkin’s home in the 600 block of Coventry Road for a welfare check discovered the 81-year-old with a knife still sticking out of his chest, police said. Sydenham was arrested on suspicion of murder early the next day at a residence in the 700 block of Kains Avenue in Albany.

During Sydenham’s arraignment this week, a judge granted a Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office request to raise the defendant’s bail to $2 million, Yancey said. The Albany woman is set to return to court in Richmond enter a plea at 1:30 p.m. Sept. 20.

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