Reiser admits he wanted to hide his car

March 20, 2008 11:58:01 AM PDT
Murder defendant Hans Reiser admitted today that one of the reasons he considered renting a storage locker in Manteca or Stockton two weeks after his estranged wife Nina disappeared is that he wanted to hide his car from Oakland police.

Reiser, a 44-year-old Oakland computer science engineer, said he looked at three or four storage locker facilities in Manteca and Stockton on Sept. 17, 2006, which was two weeks after the disappearance of his wife Nina Reiser, who was 31 at the time, on Sept. 3, 2006.

Reiser, who is in his seventh day on the witness stand, said one of the reasons he was looking at storage lockers is that he wanted a place to put "all my worldly possessions" as well as a place to sleep.

He said he wanted to move out of the house in the Oakland hills where he lived with his mother after he and Nina separated in 2004 because he thought that would improve his mother's chances of winning custody of the couple's two children.

When prosecutor Paul Hora pointed out that there are "thousands of storage lockers closer to the Bay Area" than Manteca or Stockton, Reiser said he wanted a storage place further away to minimize the possibility that Oakland police would seize his car.

Reiser said he ultimately decided not to rent a storage locker because it was too expensive and they had 24-hour security guards who wouldn't let him sleep in a locker.

When Oakland police found Reiser's car in Oakland on Sept. 19, 2006, they noticed its right front passenger seat was missing. Hora told jurors in his opening statement that Reiser might have removed the seat so that he could carry and dispose of Nina's body.

In response to another question today, Reiser said, "I don't trust the government - our government or the Russian government."

Nina Reiser was last seen alive on Sept. 3, 2006, when she dropped off the couple's children at the house where Hans Reiser lived with his mother.

Nina, who was born in Russia and was trained as a physician there, married Hans, who met her while in Russia on business, in 1999. But she filed for divorce in 2004 and was awarded legal custody of their children, although he had visitation rights.

Even though Nina's body has never been found, in October of 2006 Hans Reiser was charged with murdering her because prosecutors believe that DNA and blood evidence proves he killed her.

He has pleaded not guilty to the charges against him.

Reiser's attorney, William DuBois has said Nina may still be alive and be in hiding somewhere, possibly in Russia.