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The HANS REISER Murder Trial. Timeline and Analysis.
What's the point of putting him on trial. Declare him as not guilty and if at a later time they can find evidence that points to him and that Nina is dead then they can put him back on trial. What they are doing right now is a waste of Hans' time and everyone else's.
That is how it should have been done. However, that is NOT how it was done.
I don't think they are able to proof reisers guilty.
So they should let him go now. They kept him until now because of strong indications, that was right, but they didn't find more, they should let him go.
I don't really believe he's guilty, but it doesn't really matter!
He clearly is a genius. And his filesystem is probably the best ever. But every peace of open software needs backup from developers and community.
I will test his filesystem for my own.
That will show me if it's stable.
Because it's stability that matters, not performance.
On the first day of the Hans Reiser trial, Deputy DA Paul Hora had told the jury that he must prove at least two things to them beyond reasonable doubt. They are (1) Nina Reiser is dead; and (2) Hans Reiser killed her. This morning, Hora continued his opening statement by trying to do exactly that.
(1) That Nina is dead:
Hora took the jury through what Nina did on Sunday, Sept 3, 2006, the day she disappeared, with receipts at the Berkeley Bowl (a grocery store), the store's time-stamped videotape, and the two last cell phone calls she made. Both calls were to Hans Reiser's Exeter Drive residence (owned by his mother, Beverly). Since each call lasted only seconds, Hora surmised that Nina's purpose for the first call was to inform Hans Reiser that she was running late (she was supposed to meet with him at the Exeter house at 2pm); her second and last call was at 2:04pm, telling him that she was on her way with their 2 kids. That call was the last call she ever made, and the last call that was ever made from her cell phone. If each call lasted only seconds, it is possible/likely that neither call was answered. Would Hora imply the calls were answered, when in fact, they weren't? Yes, he definitely would.
On Sept. 9, six days after she disappeared, her cell phone was found inside her minivan parked on a quiet residential street 3 miles (or 8 minutes' drive) from Hans Reiser's Exeter house. Ignored, is the fact that her van was abandoned a mere quarter of a mile from the house of her friend, Ellen Doren, on Capricorn Avenue. Click here for a street map of the area. Inside the car were the following:
An envelope with a rent check, dated Sept. 1, to her landlord;
Bags of groceries containing fruits, veggies, alphabet crackers, sour cream, cookies, eggs, a carton of milk (gone sour), cheese, and oatmeal;
Books on parenting, self-improvement, and how to be a good doctor;
Her handbag containing her cell phone (with the battery removed); a wallet with $94.07 in cash, the Berkeley Bowl receipts, credit cards, pictures of her kids, and her driver's license.
But there were no car keys. There were no signs of struggle inside the van (no blood) or signs of a robbery (all her possessions were there).
Hora reasoned to the jury that it makes no sense that Nina left the Exeter house that afternoon and, instead of driving 5.3 miles (15 mins.) to her home so that she could put her groceries in the fridge, she instead drove 3 miles to park her car on that residential street, remove the battery from her cell phone, then left her car with all the groceries inside. All initial reports state that Nina planned to go to the Berkeley Bowl after dropping the kids off with Hans. Hora's logical conclusion is that Nina did not put the minivan there. Hora is lying by ommission. He knows damn well that the van was abandoned close to Ellen Doren's home. Hora, just doesn't want the jury finding out about this. And, interestingly, neither does the trial judge, Larry Goodman.
Hora then showed some photos of the living room of the Exeter house. Inside the living room, near the front door, is a wooden floor-to-ceiling pole. When the police finally searched the Exeter house on September 13-14, they found blood on the pole 45.5 inches from the floor, comprised of one bloody spot and two blood smears.
DNA tests on the stains found a major donor (female) and a minor donor (male). The major donor is a perfect match of Nina's DNA, obtained from her underwear, razor, and contact lens case. The DNA from the minor donor matched Hans Reiser's DNA, obtained on Sept. 28 from a swatch from his gums.
We are to believe, that the traces of Nina's blood on the pillar, are "evidence" that Nina has been stabbed, or slashed, to death. Therefore, the traces of Hans' blood on the pillar, must be "evidence" that Hans has also been stabbed, or slashed, to death. However, no cuts, scratches, or even bruises, were found on Hans Reiser.[4,5,6] Clearly, something is wrong here.
The problem is, that the blood traces do not imply recent cuts, or scratches. In fact, the blood traces may have been left on the pillar, some months, even years, before. Forensics, does not tell you how long ago the blood was deposited.[7,8] Palmer testified that the blood on the pillar had been there before Nina disappeared.
Hora conceded that science cannot tell us WHEN the blood stains were left, but he asked the jury to use our "common sense" as to how Nina could have left her blood stains on that wooden pole. If the jury was to use "common sense," they would see that Hora is simply a liar. Forensics, cannot tell him whether or not the blood stains have been there for years, yet Hora "knows" they are from Sept. 3.
(2) Having made his case that Nina did not "disappear" but had died, DA Paul Hora next tried to show that it was Hans Reiser who killed her. Having made his case!?!? Oh really? Chuckle. Let me summarize his case: Lady disappears, lady has not been seen for a year, therefore, lady is dead. He ignores the possibility that she may be deliberately laying low, in order to have Hans convicted of her murder. To do that, Hora turned to Hans Reiser's "incriminating and suspicious" behavior immediately following Nina's disappearance.
(a) Hans Reiser never reported to the police that Nina had disappeared. Instead, it was Nina's friend Ellen who reported her as a missing person on Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2 days after Nina had disappeared.
There had been a disagreement over who was supposed to have the kids that weekend and it was decided to split it up. Hans was to have the children until Tuesday morning, when he would take them to school. Nina was to pick them up after school. Hans Reiser had no way of knowing Nina had disappeared until Sept. 5, 2 days after her disappearance. So, it seems more than a little unfair, to expect him to report her disappearance before he knew about it.
However, Ellen Doren knew about Nina's disappearance on Sept. 3 and did not report it to police until around 9 pm Sept. 5, more than 2 days after her disappearance. So Doren, is actually guilty of what Reiser was accused of (but not guilty of), namely, not reporting Nina's disappearance for two days. This was incriminating for Hans Reiser, so must also point the finger at Doren, as a possible killer.
Even more telling is that Doren does not phone Hans, or visit his house, to find out if Nina might be with him and the children, or to see if she has picked up the children and gone elsewhere. Remember, Nina was going to Ellen Doren's place. How do we know that she didn't arrive and Doren killed her there (perhaps accidently)? How do we know that Doren wasn't the last person to see Nina alive?
(b) When Oakland PD came to Ellen's house at around 9 pm, Sept. 5, to take down her missing person report, Ellen called Hans Reiser's cell phone at 9:21 pm and spoke to him for 6 mins. She told him that she had picked up his and Nina's two kids from school that afternoon at 5:30 because Nina is missing, and that the two children are with her (Ellen). She asks Hans Reiser if that's ok with him. He says "uh uh."
There is a huge lie of ommission here. At 2:30 pm, Doren had turned up at the school to pick up the children from day care, but did not have permission, so she left without them.[11,12] At about 5:00 pm, Hans Reiser dropped by the school to set up a meeting to discuss the day care's enrollment policies. He speaks with Natalie Potter. Potter tells him that Doren wishes to pick up the children. Reiser gives his permission for her to do so, which she does a few minutes later, at 5:15 pm.
Interestingly, although Potter knows that Nina is missing, she neither tells Reiser this, nor asks Reiser if he knows where Nina is. Potter, like Doren, doesn't bother to ask the children if they know where their mother is. It is also known that Hans attempts to call Nina at 5:04 pm. This timing places him at the school, with Potter. Potter never mentions this call in testimony.
Ellen then says that she knows Nina had gone to his house on Sunday, Sept. 3. Hans Reiser replies: "I need to talk with my attorney."
There is another huge lie of ommission here. On Sept. 5, Oakland police conducted a phone interview with Reiser.[16,17] The only time this can have occurred is before Doren calls at 9:21 pm. So, Reiser's reply has to be put in the context of having just spoken to police, presumedly, about Nina's disappearance.
Ellen then says: "I have a police officer here and he would like to talk to you." Hans Reiser hangs up, without asking about his kids and how they are.
The words chosen here, carefully misrepresent the facts. Earlier, Reiser had given Doren his permission to pick up the children. Doren has just stated that they are still with her and she asks if this is all right. He replies, yes. What more does he need to ask Doren concerning the children? Anyway, Reiser has just found out that Nina is missing. He hasn't had time to plan how to answer Doren's questions.
When Doren turned up at the school to pick up the children, she told school employees that Nina was out of town. Potter testifies that Nina's daughter, Niorline, was with Doren and that Doren made the remark "for the benefit of the child." So, we are to believe that Doren, who is worried sick about her missing friend Nina, does not bother to ask Niorline (or Rory) if she has seen her mother recently, or otherwise, knows where she is.
(c) Hans Reiser's car (a Honda CRX that is actually registered to his mother, Beverly) was missing for days. He told Beverly that the CRX had a dead battery. So he drove (monopolized) Beverly's car (a Honda hybrid), until she finally succeeded in repossessing the hybrid from him on Sept. 10, 2006. Instead of driving the hybrid, Beverly parked it at her boyfriend's house, with a "club" on the steering wheel. She then drove a rental car instead.
Palmer most probably hired the rental car before Hans relinquished the Honda Civic hybrid. Since renting a car by the week is discounted, she probably had time left on the deal and continued to drive it after getting her Honda Civic back. Later, police seized her Honda Civic and she rented a second car.
All of which is suggestive of a less-than-ideal mother-son relationship!
However, on Sept. 21, 2006, Palmer took Hans to Budget Rent-a-Car in Hayward and rented a car for his use.
The police finally located Hans Reiser's Honda CRX 15 days after the car had gone missing, on Sept. 18, via an elaborate cat-and-mouse surveillance-chase of Hans Reiser by 11 police officers in multiple cars and a helicopter.
Hans had initiated litigation to regain custody of his children. He was secretly trailed from the Alameda County Family Court, in an operation involving 11 or 12 officers in numerous unmarked cars and a special surveillance aircraft.[22,23] A later police affadvit states that Hans with friend, Artem Mishin, driving him "appeared to be conducting counter-surveillance" by driving at varying speeds, turning down small residential streets and making abrupt stops.
Mishin later testifies that he had "no idea" at the time that Oakland police were secretly trailing them. "They did a good job," Mishin said. In court, Dec. 17, 2007, Mishin gives a number of innocent explanations for the behavior.
When Hans Reiser (unknowingly) led the police to his Honda CRX parked on a residential street, the police saw that the car's front passenger seat was missing.
Child Protective Services had told Beverly Palmer, that they would only consider giving her custody of the children, if Hans were to move out of her house.[26,27] In response to Child Protective Services demand, Reiser moves into the Honda CRX. Reiser was still attempting to pay wages at his business, Namesys, and used the car as cheap accommodation. Later, Child Protective Services tells Beverly Palmer that Reiser is sleeping in the Honda CRX. They claim that this makes him a poor candidate for getting custody of the children. Palmer testified that he initially slept in the front seat.[29,30] He took out the passenger seat so he could lie down and sleep more comfortably.[31,32]
(d) Hans Reiser's other suspicious behaviors:
(i) On Sept. 5, just 2 days after Nina's disappearance, at about 11pm Hans Reiser's neighbor Jack Stab saw him hosing down something in his driveway, for about a half hour. Although it was "hot as hell" that night, Hans Reiser was wearing a winter coat.
Jack Stabb, sees Hans "spraying water off of something in the driveway for half-an-hour." In court, Stabb states he did not have direct vision of the driveway and could not say for sure whether a car was being washed. He also mentioned that the next morning, the driveway was filthy and covered with pine needles.
The most likely explanation for this, is that Reiser was cleaning his mother's 2003 Honda Civic, after her return from the Burning Man trip at 2:00 pm that day. You know, cleaning off the mud and pine needles and such.
Stabb also said, "Reiser, meanwhile, was 'dressed for winter,' wearing what looked like a hooded hunting jacket."
Reiser was probably wearing a raincoat. This is not unusual when cleaning up with a hose and spraying around a lot of water.
Jack Stabb is probably lying here. In court, he relates his interest in events by saying, "I thought it was kind of strange... 'What are you doing, washing the driveway?'" He notes the time. The next morning, he even investigates the driveway and reports it to be "filthy and covered with pine needles." So, on the one hand, Jack Stabb finds this event rather intriguing and worth further investigation. On the other hand, he isn't even interested enough to look through another window to see what Hans is actually doing.
(ii) On Sept. 8, five days after Nina's disappearance, Hans Reiser purchased two books from Barnes and Noble, titled "Masterpieces of Murder" and "Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets."
It is claimed that Reiser buys the books to find out about police excesses in homicide investigation.[38,39] It appears that Reiser fears he may be framed for murder. DuBois says that the books contain chapters on how corrupt police plant evidence and set up murder scenes. Attorney, Daniel Horowitz, states, "He's an intelligent man. He's going to want to know what the police are up to. What's he supposed to be doing, reading comic books?"
(iii) On Sept. 10, he bought a roll of shop towels and a bottle of Valvoline fuel dryer and antifreeze (to get water out of a car's gas tank) from Kragen Auto Supply.
Shop towels are small hand towels. They are usually blue and are used to wipe grease and oil from ones hands. Reiser was having trouble starting the CRX. Water in the fuel will cause a car to have trouble starting. The Valvoline fuel dryer, removes the water from the fuel, which may solve the problem.
(iv) On Sept. 17, he bought a 40-piece socket set from Kragen.
He bought the 40-piece socket wrench set, to remove the front passenger seat, so that he could sleep lying down.
All the above purchases were paid with cash. DA Hora also pointed out that Hans Reiser has a black belt in judo, and that one of judo skills is the art of choking (someone), done in a fast and quiet way.
This is like the DA saying, having once worked as a carpenter, Reiser may have killed Nina by bludgeoned her to death with a hammer. It's fast, it's quiet and it's deadly.
Court was adjourned at 4pm, to resume Thursday morning at 9:45. It is expected that the DA will take another hour tomorrow to finish his opening statement. Then it will be the Defense's opening statement.
What happened in court, Thu. Nov. 8, 2007.
On the morning of Nov. 8, prosecutor Paul Hora resumed his Opening Statement by continuing his two-pronged approach. Recall that, to get a conviction from the jury, Hora has to accomplish two things:
(1) Prove that Nina is dead, not "missing"; and
(2) Prove that Hans killed her.
Hora's task is made doubly difficult because, as he admits, this is a purely circumstantial evidence case: There is no dead body, no murder weapon found, and no witness(es).
(1) Nina is dead:
Yes, Nina could be dead. She may have died at Ellen Doren's house. Then again, she could be deliberately laying low, in order to have Hans convicted of her murder. She may be conspiring with her family to milk the situation for all that they can. Her mother, Irina Sharanova, has already received $20,000 from CBS.
* Hora describes the efforts taken by Nina's then-boyfriend, Anthony, to look for her. He repeatedly called her; drove by her house; drove around Oakland; distributed missing person flyers; and put up 18 "$15,000 Reward" missing-person billboards. He also went to Nina's home (he has a key), but found nothing out of the ordinary. Her black cat was there. Anthony looked at Nina's computer (he has her password) and looked through her e-mail and Internet browsing history.
* Next, Hora describes police efforts to search for Nina. They went to her home and took many pictures. Every room in her home appeared neat and orderly. On the kitchen table, two sets of glasses and spoons were laid out. On the refrigerator was a calendar on which Nina had written her kids' breakfasts and lunches. In the kitchen sink were two plants in small pots, as if Nina had left them there to drain after having just watered them. On the wall over her bed in her bedroom was the large photo-portrait of Nina holding baby Rory which DA Hora has displayed in the courtroom.
* Evidence found by the police pointing to Nina's death:
Her Russian and American passports, found in her home.
INS (Immigration and Naturalization Service) has no record of Nina having left the United States.
No results from the National Missing Person database.
No activity in Nina's financial accounts (bank, credit cards) after her last transaction at Berkeley Bowl on Sept. 3, the day of her disappearance.
No cell phone activity after her last call to Hans at his Exeter home on Sept. 3.
Nina missed some very important dates, including appointments to be finger-printed for and to begin her new job with the SF Dept of Public Health.
(2) Hans killed Nina:
* Hora spent most of the morning on this. He began by noting important similarities between the locations of Nina's Odyssey minivan (found 6 days after her disappearance) and Hans' supposedly-missing Honda CRX. Both cars were found 2.5 to 3 miles from Hans's Exeter house. Both cars were parked on quiet residential streets near Highway 13. (In effect, Hora is suggesting that the same person, Hans, had hidden the two cars because the same modus operandi was employed.)
Important similarities? Chuckle. Isn't this guy, Hora, just something else?
* When Hans (unknowingly) led the police to his CRX on the night of Sept. 18, the police took photos of the car, put a GPS devise on it, then left the car where it was parked. The next morning, the car had not been moved. At 10:30am, the police had it towed to the crime lab and found the following:
Police claim that they spotted Hans running up Shepherd Canyon Road (all initial reports say Snake Boulevard) toward his home, which he shares with his mother, and is some two to three miles away. If police actually believed their own claim, then there was almost no chance that Reiser would return to the Honda CRX that night. So, they may as well tow the vehicle there and then.
However, police placed a GPS devise on the car and left it parked where it was. Why did the police do this?
The next day, in a wire-tapped call, Hans asks his mother to meet him at the Mormon Temple (4770 Lincoln Ave, Oakland), saying, "I want to talk to you about something." The Mormon Temple is about 3/4 of a mile from where his Honda CRX was parked.
So, why is it necessary to phone his mother from the Mormon Temple and arrange a meeting there, in order to share what he has on his mind? Why didn't he just do this in the morning, when he was at home with his mother.
Putting it slightly differently; Why would he walk from the house which he shared with his mother, to the Mormon Temple, in order to call his mother at the house he had just left, and ask her to meet him at the temple, so that he could speak to her?
Why did the police do this? The answer appears to be, because Hans slept in the car overnight and that police witnessed this. The reports of Hans running up Shepherd Canyon Road/Snake Boulevard were probably fabricated, by certain police, to draw unwanted police eyes away from seeing exactly what Reiser was about. For more on this, see .
-- The front passenger seat was gone, leaving four holes in the floor where the seat bolts would have been;
We are told that there was standing water in the car's front passenger seat. We are told that there were four holes in the floor where the seat bolts would have been. Why didn't the "standing water" drain through the holes? Are we being lied to yet again?
-- In the rear hatchback area (to which Hans was observed the previous evening to have repeatedly rummaged around in) were a spare tire, jack, a sleeping bag stuffsack, black plastic trashbags, and a socket set (that Hans bought the previous day, Sept. 17, from Kragen). Found in other areas of the car were: the two books on murder which Hans bought from Barnes and Noble; a camping tent; a map of Stockton; an atlas of Northern California; clothes; flyers from a rental storage place in Manteca; an U-Haul one-way Manteca-to-Oakland rental agreement; receipts (from Kragen, Target, etc.); a ratchet, socket, and adapter (all from the socket set); and 4 seat bolts. Hora then showed a photo showing how the bolt fits perfectly into one of the holes in the car's floor beneath the missing passenger seat.
A sleeping bag stuffsack, a camping tent, but no sleeping bag? Until Jan. 22, 2008, not a single press report mentions a sleeping bag in the vehicle. Not a single report, made public by the court, mentions a sleeping bag in the vehicle. Do you really think it likely that there was no sleeping bag in the vehicle, or do you think that the press, the courts and the police have all deliberately failed to mention this? After Jan. 22, 2008, the fact that there was a sleeping bag in the vehicle, was commonly acknowledged.
Food and drinks, reading material and toiletry items were also found in the vehicle. Before Jan. 22, 2008, there was no mention of any of these items which indicate Hans was living in the vehicle.
-- DNA tests on stains found on the sleeping bag stuffsack show that one stain from a female donor is an exact match of Nina's DNA. The second stain was from a male donor, which is an exact match of Hans' DNA.
We are to believe, that the traces of Nina's blood on the sleeping bag stuffsack, are "evidence" that Nina has been stabbed, or slashed, to death. Therefore, the traces of Hans' blood on the sleeping bag stuffsack, must be "evidence" that Hans has also been stabbed, or slashed, to death. However, no cuts, scratches, or even bruises, were found on Hans Reiser.[4,5,6] Clearly, something is wrong here.
The problem is, that the blood traces do not imply recent cuts, or scratches. In fact, the blood traces may have been left on the stuffsack, some months, even years, before. Forensics, does not tell you how long ago the blood was deposited.
Palmer, testified that Hans and Nina had often stayed over at her home and that they had slept in sleeping bags. The blood was possibly deposited on the stuffsack then. Hans has testified that while married to Nina, they used the sleeping bag itself, as a comforter on their bed, and that they had sex on it.
-- After all the stuff in the car was removed, there was a dark wet (but rustless) area on the car floor. Ordinarily, persistent wetness would lead to rusting. However, weather records for the month of September 2006 show that Northern California had been without rain and dry. All of which suggests that the wet area in Hans' car floor was recent. Though recent, it was VERY wet: the water soaked through the car mat to the floor board.
There is no evidence Hans washed the Honda CRX, at all. We only know is that there was (supposedly) standing water in front passenger seat area. Hans could have simply spilt a bottle of mineral water there. After all, he was living in the car and needed a drink from time to time.
-- Finally, the car's battery is 3 years old, with a "Sept '03" date. Recall that, to explain why he wasn't driving the CRX, Hans had told his mother on Sept. 5 (2006) that his car's battery was dead. But on Sept 12, Hans was driving the CRX in Redwood City when a cop gave him a traffic citation (for not yielding to a bus). There was also nothing wrong with the car battery on Sept. 18. (In other words, DA Hora is suggesting that Hans lied to his mom about the CRX being inoperative due to a dead battery.)
The implication here is clearly wrong. It is possible to run a car with no battery at all. By push starting it, for example. It is common that a car with a near dead battery, after being started with jumper leads, will run all day (even with stopping and starting the motor). It is also common, that that same car, will not start the next morning.
* On Sept. 23, Hans made 3 separate cash withdrawals, of $1000 each, from his credit union in 3 cities (San Leandro, Hayward, Fremont).
There was a withdrawal limit of $1000 at each of the credit unions.
* That evening, 20 days after Nina had disappeared, Hans called his mother in her Exeter home. By this time, Oakland PD had the phone tapped. DA Hora then plays the audiotape of the phonecall, in which Hans portrays himself as the reasonable party and victim in the divorce. He had wanted a mediator, but not Nina. Nina has Munchausen-by-proxy syndrome, concocting imagined illnesses for their son, Rory. Both Rory and Hans were her proxy. "By finding him (Rory) borderline autistic, that was her way of degrading me." "Rory said he wanted to live only with me and I think that's because he understands his mother, who wants him to be sick... on some deep conflicted level."
Hans also says Nina is profligate and a liar: "She would do things like she would buy this really fancy laptop... but we got her in (divorce) deposition on that one... prove she was lying. She stole stuff... money. At the time that I was asking my guys (employees of Hans' company, Namesys) to take pay cut... she was spending money like crazy" to inflate the baseline for her future spousal support. "She was doing that while the company was going bankrupt. She concealed money, don't know how much, before and after the divorce. She hates me and calls the police, she knows that she's a woman, but in this case it didn't work. The police wanted to arrest her, but I wouldn't let them -- I wasn't bruised... If your wife hits you and hits you during the divorce, you should have police arrest her. But I didn't. Being decent was a mistake I paid for heavily. Rory would be better if she had gone to jail... She just abused me, she looks for every possible way to screw me -- and did it. The fact that I was a good and generous husband seems to be a weakness to her."
Hans' mother, Beverly: "Hans, as bad as this all is, it's still bad what happened to her. She didn't deserve whatever that happened to her, whatever she did, done."
Hans: "I don't think my children should be endangered by her. That's all I ever wanted was unite with her and give her an opportunity to come to the U.S., to have some children."
Beverly: "She still didn't deserve what happened to her."
Hans: "Yeah, and neither did I, and neither did Rory."
Beverly: "Hopefully we'll somehow get through this."
Hans: "It's just that...the whole court system made it so much worse than it had to. Just so much worse."
Beverly: "Well, that's true."
Hans: "These lawyers systematically drain me of what I have... used it to make money." Referring to Nina's divorce attorney Shelley Gordon, Hans says "she had the nerve to tell me I deserve it."
The phonecall ends with Hans promising he'll e-mail her (which suggests that Hans wasn't living in the Exeter home (he was living in his car)), and Beverly reminding him of an upcoming appointment to see his children (by this time they were in foster care). Hans concludes the phonecall, "Byebye, I love you. I love you a lot."
* On Sept. 24, Hans withdraws yet more cash from 3 ATMs in Truckee. He also buys a phonecard in Roseville on Sept. 27.
* By Sept. 28, police had sufficient evidence for a search warrant. Hans was taken to the PD, had his picture taken (looking much heavier, 20 lbs?, (40 lbs) than he appears today in the courtroom), and examined. No scratches or bruises were found on his body. Inside his fannypack were the following:
$8,960 in cash.
Hans' U.S. passport.
Borders' and Barnes and Noble Rewards Cards.
A cellphone, with its battery removed (but the battery is in the fannypack). Hora asks rhetorically: "How many people drive around with the battery removed from the cellphone, or with the passenger seat removed?"
A typed (unlikely, probably printed) three-page statement titled "Statement by Hans Reiser," in which Hans accuses Nina of making up lies about herself (that she has post-traumatic disorder) and about Rory's illnesses. Hans rails against Nina being awarded sole custody of Rory; says his children in Nina's care are sleeping poorly on a plastic mattress. "I may be a danger in the worldview of some, but I'm no danger to my children."
* The police released Hans that evening (Sept. 28) and began a 24-hour surveillance. On the morning of October 10, the police arrested Hans Reiser for the murder of Nina.
With this, Hora ends his Opening Statement, reminding the jury again that they must evaluate each piece of evidence and ask what it means. "Think about all the circumstances surrounding Nina's disappearance and Hans' behaviors. There's really one simple explanation, and that's that (pointing at Hans) this man killed her. I ask you to return a verdict of 'guilty' of murder, homicide."
Actually, there is another simple explanation, and that is that the police, Hora, etc, are trying to frame Hans Reiser for a murder that he never committed and probably, never happened.
Defense attorney William Du Bois' opening statements.
After the lunch break, court resumes at 2pm with the Opening Statement of Hans' defense attorney, William Du Bois.
Du Bois is medium-height, 60-something, with greying hair, a slight belly paunch, glasses, and overall avuncular looking. He is certainly not the kind of slick, preening, media-hogging defense lawyers whom we have seen so much of late. He also clearly is a seasoned attorney: he gave a bravura performance, without reading from notes, and was quite funny at times. That being said, I find at least one of his tactics to be underhanded and objectionable (more on this later).
Put in a nut shell, Du Bois's charge is to induce reasonable doubt in at least ONE juror about the prosecution's contention that Nina is dead, and that it was Hans who killed her. To do that, it appears that Du Bois has adopted a three-pronged strategy of: (1) We don't really know what happened to Nina; (2) Hans is innocent of murder; and (3) Prosecution cannot be trusted.
(1) We don't really know what happened to Nina:
What Defense must do is to introduce doubt about almost everything concerning this case, chief of which is the Prosecution's portrayal of Nina as a good mother who fell victim to her heartless estranged husband. In fact, just about everything the Prosecution has said about Nina is untrue because it is simply the fictitious public image that Nina concocted and projected - "she attends carefully to her public image" - as much a lie as that lovely photo portrait of Nina holding baby Rory, that is displayed in the courtroom. According to Du Bois, the true Nina is a master manipulator who uses men, is secretive, unfaithful, and weaves "a pattern of deception."
Actually, all the defense has to do is show that the police only had one suspect, Hans, from the beginning and tried to slant everything against Hans. The police tried everything short of faking physical evidence. The police ignored other potential killers, like Ellen Doren.
To begin with, the way Hans and Nina met was seedy (not Du Bois's word, but implied). They had met when Hans answered Nina's personal ad in "European Connections," a dating-service (Du Bois dubs it "mail order bride") magazine published in Atlanta, USA. Du Bois then projects on the screen a page from the mag's June 1998 issue: There are 13 photos of various women, at least one of whom appears to be naked. Next, Du Bois shows us the page with Nina's ad and photo, in which Nina5279 is described as "24, 5' 3", 106 lbs, a university student, fluent in English and German, seeking a nice man with many interests" who is interested in a relationship. It is here that the real Nina "is better portrayed." Du Bois makes note of how she described herself as a university student, not the "doctor" that the Prosecution claims. "She's never been a doctor," although she did have "a medical background beyond Biology I."
Du Bois makes note of how she described herself as a university student, not the "doctor" that the Prosecution claims. "She's never been a doctor," although she did have "a medical background beyond Biology I." That's interesting.