Alameda County supervisor testifies at Reiser trial

Alameda County Supervisor Gail Steele testified Wednesday that murder defendant Hans Reiser spoke to her numerous times before his wife disappeared about his frustrations with the county’s family court system.

Taking the witness stand in Reiser’s trial on charges that he murdered Nina Reiser, 31, who was last seen alive Sept. 3, 2006, Steele said she first met Hans Reiser, a 43-year-old computer engineer, sometime in 2005 when he was in front of the county administration building in Oakland to collect signatures for a petition aimed at changing the family court system.

Steele, who has been a supervisor for more than 15 years and represents the Hayward area, said Reiser “definitely was upset and concerned” about the family court system and she agreed to meet with him periodically because one of her most important issues is how children are treated in the courts.

She said Reiser “was pretty upset but not abnormal” about the family court because many parents express concern about the court.

Steele said that on April 28, 2006, Reiser made an unsolicited $2,000 contribution to her re-election campaign. She described it as a medium-sized contribution. Asked by prosecutor Paul Hora if she knew that at the time Reiser made the contribution he was $15,000 behind in his child support payments, Steele said, “No, I had no idea.”

Hans and Nina Reiser married in 1999 but Nina Reiser filed for divorce in 2004 and they had been undergoing bitter divorce proceedings for more than two years at the time she disappeared. Nina Reiser’s body has never been found despite extensive searches in the Oakland hills and elsewhere.

Nina Reiser was awarded both legal and physical custody of the children, but Hans Reiser was allowed to have them one weeknight a week and every other weekend.

— Bay City News

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