Showing jurors photographs of Nina Reiser with her two children, a prosecutor described her today as “a mother who would never, ever abandon these kids.”
In his opening statement in the trial of computer engineer and self-described “genius” Hans Reiser on charges that he murdered Nina Reiser, Alameda County Deputy District Attorney Paul Hora ridiculed conjecture by Hans Reiser’s attorneys that she went into hiding after she disappeared Sept. 3, 2006, after dropping off their children at his homeat 6979 Exeter Drive in Oakland’s Montclair District.
Her body has never been found despite extensive searches in the heavily wooded Oakland hills and elsewhere.
Hora said scores of witnesses, including Nina Reiser’s mother, teachers, friends and doctors will testify that “it’s impossible” that she would simply run away because “she had much to live for” in Oakland and “would never abandon them (the children) and leave them up for grabs in the courts and the foster care system.”
Hora told jurors in the twice-delayed trial, “You’ll know without a doubt that something terrible happened to her.”
Pointing at 43-year-old Hans Reiser, Hora said Nina Reiser “was at this man’s doorstep” when she was last seen alive.
Nina Reiser, who was trained as a gynecologist in her native Russia, and Hans Reiser married in 1999 but separated in May 2004. They were undergoing contentious divorce proceedings at the time she disappeared but the divorce wasn’t finalized.
Nina Reiser was awarded both legal and physical custody of their children, Rory, 8, and Nio, 6, but Hans Reiser was allowed to have them one weeknight a week and every other weekend.
Although Nina Reiser’s body hasn’t been found, in October 2006 prosecutors charged Hans Reiser with murdering her after Oakland police said they found biological and trace evidence suggesting that she is dead as well as blood evidence tying him to her death. He’s being held in custody without bail.
The children were placed in foster care after Nina Reiser disappeared. They currently are living with Nina Reiser’s mother in Russia. Hora has declined to reveal if they will return for their father’s trial.
Reiser’s lead attorney, William DuBois, will give his opening statement Wednesday.
— Bay City News