Reiser: "I did not kill Nina Reiser"

March 18, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
The East Bay computer engineer accused of killing his wife was on the stand for the fifth day. Late Tuesday afternoon, the prosecution grilled Hans Reiser about whether he played any role in his wife Nina's death. It marks the beginning of what's expected to be an intense cross examination.

On the witness stand, Reiser has been known to give long, rambling answers to even the simplest questions. Late Tuesday, his answers were very short and direct, when asked directly if he committed murder.

"I've already told you. I did not kill Nina Reiser" Hans Reiser insisted, under repeated questioning from Alameda County prosecutor Paul Hora, over whether Reiser harmed his estranged wife in any way on the last day he saw her in September 2006.

That's also the last day Nina Reiser was seen alive after she dropped off the couple's two young children at Reiser's Oakland Hills home.

The prosecutor grilled Hans Reiser.

"Did you strike her?"

"No," Reiser replied.

"Did you apply physical force?"

"No."

"Did you commit any form of manslaughter or murder?"

"No," Reiser answered.

A black belt in judo, Reiser did say "yes", when asked if he could've killed Nina with his bare hands, if he wanted to.

"The prosecutor is trying to preclude any claim that this was anything other first-degree, premeditated murder, with explicit malice aforethought," says ABC7 legal analyst Dean Johnson.

Hans and Nina Reiser were involved in a contentious divorce, including a custody battle over their young children. Nina Reiser's body has never been found.

On the stand, Reiser told his attorney he tried to run away from the police that were trailing him because he needed to "lose weight."

Later, he admitted he was trying to shake their surveillance because he is "paranoid" by nature.

Reiser's attorney, William Du Bois, often seemed frustrated with his client's testimony, at one point throwing down his pen in exasperation.

"I think you can count on the fact that Reiser has taken the stand contrary to his attorney's advice and that there is probably a deep emotion rift between attorney and client right now and the result is not surprising," says Johnson.

At the end of the day, the prosecutor showed the jury a series of emails exchanged between Hans and Nina over custody issues. He actually made Reiser read his own written words. In them, Reiser seemed somewhat bitter. He wrote "Those who anger slowly, cool slowly, Nina."

Those were the last words the jury heard. Hans Reiser will be back on trial on Wednesday.


Load Comments