[conspire] Reiser case: Rory Reiser has testified

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Tue Nov 13 21:56:53 PST 2007

I wrote:

> Th 2007-11-08:  Prosecutor Paul Hora concludes his opening statement
> [...]
> The trial is recessed until tomorrow, when William DuBois will give
> defence's opening statement.

The newspaper report that reported that claim about recess was wrong:
In the afternoon session, DuBois gave his _entire_ opening statement,
clocking in at 2 hours -- compared to Hora's opening statement that
sprawled across three days.

There's a point that DuBois makes through such a short opening statement:
He reminds the jurors that the defence has, literally, nothing it needs
to prove.  _Hora_ has, by law, the burden of showing past _any_ reasonable
doubt that a death occurred -- with no corpse -- that a murder occurred
(by no means are all deaths murders), and that Hans Reiser did the deed.

DuBois's two hours were spent mostly rebutting Hora's portrait of Nina.
He showed, for starters, Nina's advertisement in "European Connections" 
under handle "Nina5279", saying that Nina had a clear 5-year plan to 
get pregnant, come to the US, get citizenship, and immediately ditch her
husband.  (In fact, she filed for separation the exact month she got US
citizenship.)  He claimed that this boyfriend-shopping Nina is the real
Nina, not the devoted mother the prosecution claims:  He pointed out
that her computer, at the time of her disappearance, had a considerable
number of saved personals from Craigslist for male prospects.  He
speculated that she might have run into foul play from one of her many
anonymous dates.

DuBois claimed that the filing of charges against Reiser in October 2006
based on scanty evidence was an improper move on Assistant DA Hora's
part in response to publicity, based in part on inaccurate information
from Oakland PD, and that the case was going forward despite its lack of
evidence because Hora is now trapped in having to prove the case anyway.

DuBois also pointed out that prosecution's claim (in Hora's opening
statement) of strangulation conflicts with its allegation of blood
evidence, as a strangling would leave none.

I wrote:

> 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.

Tu 2007-11-13:  Today, prosecutor Hora starts his case:  Elder child
Rory Reiser, now age 8, testifies.  His grandmother Irina Sharanova --
who in December whisked him away from the USA against judges' orders and
kept him with her for the past year -- accompanies him back, arriving 
Mo 2007-11-12.  Rory gives his testimony in the company of a Russian
"mental health worker":  She sits next to him and holds his hand while
he speaks.  Rory is Hora's opening witness, and speaks in a monotone, in
notably short sentences only.  Rory frequently closes both eyes or
intensively rubs his left eye, stopping testimony.

Hora leads Rory through selected sound bites from letters he wrote 
in Russia and mailed to his father, e.g. (in the letter text),
repeatedly asking Hans where Nina is, calling Hans a liar, and saying he
(Rory) would not be willing to go back to the USA unless Sharanova
accompanies him.  When Hora asks Rory why, he sais Hans 'hides Nina".
When asked why he thinks that, Rory replies "Because who could do
something to Nina except him.  Because no one knows about her except her
friends and Hans."

Rory testifies that Hans Reiser had not answered any of his letters. 
(The Santa Rita Jail authorities, you may recall, have not allowed any 
of Hans's letters to the children to be sent.)  Rory claims it's
nobody else's idea but his, for him to write his letters to Hans.

Oddly, throughout, Rory refers to Hans as "Papa", but Nina as "Nina".
My opinion:  Seems like some very unsubtle coaching by Nina's mother
Irina Sharanova, here.  I wonder if the jury noticed that telling

Sharanova is initially present, as is paternal grandmother Beverly
Palmer, but both are required to leave the courtroom during Rory's
testimony, since both are potential future witnesses.

Asked if he loves his parents, he says yes about Nina, but only "At that
moment [September 2006]", concerning Papa.  Hora:  "Is it different, now?"
Rory:  "Yes."  Hora:  "Why?"  Rory:  "I don't know."

Rory testifies that he has not seen or heard from his mother while in
Russia, that she hasn't called or written, and that he doesn't know her

Rory describes a drawing (not present in court) that he says he drew
"recently", depicting his father carrying a bag, with the words "I think
here is Nina" next to the picture.  Hora speculates to the jury that
this is Rory's way of depicting Hans carrying away Nina's body.  

Rory says he didn't know what happened to his mother, but, when asked 
about his "recent" drawing, says it shows "Hans going down the stairs
with somebody."  Asked who "somebody" was, Rory says he doesn't know -- 
but then says he thought his father "might" have been carrying a bag
down the house stairs, and that his mother "could have been" in the bag
he drew, curled up.  The boy at this point leaves the witness stand and
curls up into a ball on the floor.

Rory says that he understands the difference between truth and a lie,
and that nobody has told him what to say in court.

Hora admits that Rory's testimony is confused and conflicting:  Asked
about his prior testimony that his mother had hugged him at the 6979
Exeter Drive home and then left, perfectly healthy, Rory now says that
he no longer remembers.  He no longer recalls going to the Berkeley Bowl
grocery with Nina, and recalls the last time he saw his mother as Fr
2007-09-01, rather than Su 2007-09-03.  (All he now says he remembers
about the latter day is eating macaroni and cheese, and playing video

DuBois is likely to do his cross-examination of Rory on Thursday, though
some news sources predict Wednesday.

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