[conspire] Reiser case: Paul Hora's opening statement ends

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Thu Nov 8 14:58:51 PST 2007

Elaborating on one item, briefly:

> We 2006-10-11:  Oakland PD announce that Forensics found two drops of
> blood on a pillar at 6979 Exeter Drive.  Inside the CRX, they found
> one drop of blood on a stuffsack.  They also found the two books from
> Borders, a roll of paper towels, masking tape, and a roll of large,
> black trash bags, some of which had been used.  The blood traces are
> compatible with Nina's blood.  The CRX is missing its front passenger
> seat.  Police say that the floorboard underneath the front seat area's
> carpeting had been "saturated with water".
> (Hans's attorney much later claimed Hans had removed the passenger
> seat because he was in financial straits and obliged to live in the
> vehicle.)
More specifically, Hans and his mother were at that time attempting to
regain legal custody of Rory and Niorlene.  The Alameda County Family
Court had ruled that they would consider entrusting the children to
Hans's mother Beverly Palmer only if Hans were to move out (since he was
the subject of a criminal investigation).  Since Hans had nowhere else
to move to, at that time, he moved out into his car, according to the
family and to Hans's attorney.

Backfilling the timeline with a few significant items I'd overlooked:


[Reminder:  Nina disappears Su 2006-09-03, afternoon, Labor Day weekend.
Following are activities ~1 week later, after Hans discovers he's a prime
suspect for a probable murder, and is being subjected to surveillance.]

Su 2006-09-10, morning:  Hans visits a Kragen Auto Parts in San Lorenzo
to buy cleaning fluid, and shop towels.  45 minutes later, he returns to
buy a siphon pump.

Su 2006-09-10, evening:  Hans stays overnight at a Motel 6 in Fremont.

Su 2006-09-17:  Hans visits Manteca (~50 miles east, in the Delta).  He
buys a $10 prepaid telephone card.  He visits a self-storage facility.
He rents a U-Haul truck, later driven to Oakland.  Later, he visits the
San Lorenzo Kragen Auto Parts to buy a 40-piece socket wrench set.



Th 2007-11-08:  Prosecutor Paul Hora concludes his opening statement
in the traditional fashion, by recapping prosecution's planned
circumstantial case, which (absent a body or murder weapon) rests
on some peculiar activity of Hans's after Nina's disappearance, his
alleged murder motive in his outrage over Alameda County Family Court's
child-custody judgement, his lack of concern over his missing estranged
wife's well-being, and reasons why Nina would not have been expected to
abandon her children and career to leave faking her own death.

Hora also plays a 10-minute recording of a telephone conversation, a
few days after Nina's disappearance, between Hans and his mother, in
which Hans complains again about the child-custody loss and declines to
express any concern about Nina's fate.

Judge Goodman denies defence's motion for mistrial on grounds of illegal

The trial is recessed until tomorrow, when William DuBois will give
defence's opening statement.

Opinion:  So far, prosecution doesn't strike me as having a prayer of
elmininating reasonable doubt -- not even over Nina being dead, let
alone Hans being the killer.  I think Oakland PD pushed the case because
of their instinctive reaction to Hans's suspicious behaviour, in
expectation that prosecution would unearth better evidence -- a body, a
murder weapon, a confession, other damaging evidence -- before having to
prove the case.  They're now trapped having to prove a case much weaker
than planned.

If (as I currently expect) Hans is acquitted, absolutely everyone loses:
The Oakland DA looks bad, Hans's reputation is ruined, he's bankrupt and
has spent over a year in jail, the children are still missing _both_
parents, and Nina's fate remains a mystery.

Personal excuse:  I'm fascinated in part because like most of the local
Linux community I (barely) know Hans, in part because _unlike_ most of
modern America I'm not a child of divorce (so this has anthropological

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