Witness describes Nina Reiser as ‘fabulous mother’

A woman who knew Nina Reiser because their children attended the same preschool described her Monday as “a fabulous mother” to her two children.

Testifying at the beginning of the third week of computer programmer Hans Reiser’s trial on charges that he murdered his estranged wife Nina, Marni Hunter said Nina was a very active volunteer at the Grand Lake Montessori School in Oakland and appeared to be a devoted mother.

Asked by prosecutor Paul Hora if Nina ever talked about abandoning her children, Hunter said no.

Hunter also said that based on her acquaintance with Nina, she doesn’t think Nina ever would have abandoned her children.

Hans Reiser, 43, is accused of murdering Nina Reiser, 31, who disappeared Sept. 3, 2006, after she dropped off the couple’s children at his home in the Oakland hills. Nina Reiser’s body has never been found despite extensive searches in the Oakland hills and elsewhere. Hans Reiser maintains his innocence.

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

Hans Reiser’s attorney, William DuBois, has said that he thinks Nina Reiser might still be alive and could be in hiding in Russia, where she was born and where she was trained as a physician. Alternatively, DuBois has said that Nina might have been killed by Russian spies or mobsters.

When DuBois cross-examined Hunter Monday, he asked if Nina Reiser ever mentioned her life in Russia, sadomasochism and the fact that she looked for men on the Craigslist Web site. Hunter said Nina hadn’t discussed those things with her.

“What I saw was a mother who was severely interested in her children,” Hunter said.

The next witness in Hans Reiser’s trial is expected to be Shelley Gordon, an Oakland attorney who represented Nina Reiser in her divorce proceedings with Hans Reiser. At Hans Reiser’s preliminary hearing last year, Gordon testified that the couple’s divorce proceedings were “extremely hostile and acrimonious” and among the most bitter she has experienced in her career.

— Bay City News

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