[conspire] Reiser trial: DNA tests partially flubbed, defence motion for mistrial

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Mon Feb 4 09:47:49 PST 2008

[Forwarded back from another mailing list.]

Quoting Brian Chrisman (brian at permitsoft.com):

> I don't know the context, but if she literally means just 'lyse', ie, 
> bursting the cell membrane, water will do it.

However, just bursting the cell membranes wouldn't destroy all DNA
evidence in white cell and other DNA-bearing blood components (red blood
cells have no DNA, but other blood fractions do), let alone prevent a
criminalist from detecting there having been blood there at all.

Remember, Cavness was saying the _only_ blood found in the car was the
faint 6" smear of unknown age on the stuffsack.  And yet, Hans moved a
corpse in that car to somewhere far from the Oakland hills?  Really?

> You'd think that transporting a body would leave a whole lot of blood 
> pretty much everywhere, unless you had meticulously planned for disposal 
> over a good long period of time.

Yes.  Prosecutor Hora attempted to dance around this point in his
opening statement by speculating that maybe Nina'd been strangled, but
again this sounds to me like ad-hockery suspiciously crafted to fit his
lack of evidence.

> I took out the passenger seat in my NSX to transport a bunch of stuff 
> once.  It would make more sense if he'd taken out the CRX passenger seat 
> in order to fit a body in the entire car (the CRX hatchback isn't big, 
> and if the body was rigid and she was tall?? I dunno....), but then he 
> would've gone ahead and put the seat back in after he was finished, 
> presumably.  I don't think anybody could fit my body in rigor in a CRX 
> without removing the passenger seat.. might need to leave the hatch open 
> too... :)

Nina was or is a pretty short gal.  Rigor mortis ceases around 72 hours
after death, FWIW (but that would be after his mother's return from
Burning Man).

> What mystifies me, is what's happened to the 'friend' who claims to have 
> killed several people?  Anything?  Did he recant or something?

No news on that -- and Sean Sturgeon's confession was ruled inadmissable
for the Reiser trial, early on.  Before you ask, sealed writ, so we
don't know the grounds.

> Seems like that's all the defense really needs to build some
> reasonable doubt.

Prosecution's case is, fundamentally, this:

o  Two pieces of (now-dubious) DNA blood evidence.
o  Nina was last seen at Hans's house.
o  Witnesses say Nina would never voluntarily abandon her children.
o  Hans showed up to pick up the kids at school after Nina 
   disappeared but before authorities were alerted, even though it
   was Nina's day to do pickup.  (Oddly, he then left without the
   kids.  Eventually, Ellen Doren dropped by and took them.)
o  Hans's car's seat was gone, floorboards wet, and two books on murder
   investigations found in it.
o  Days after Nina vanished, Hans was sort-of seen washing his 
   driveway at night, wearing heavy clothes on a hot autumn night.
o  "Counter-surveillance" measures.
o  Hans had mentioned at a school party that he'd be better off 
   without his wife.

I'll be fascinated to hear about DuBois's case for the defence. 
One of the things criminal defence lawyers must stress (in common law 
countries like the USA) is that they have literally no burden of proof:
As you say, prosecutors must establish guilt past any reasonable
doubt.   Thus, defence's best tactic is sometimes to point out that
key holes in the opposition's case, and otherwise say nothing at all.

That's why the fight over Rory saying his mother left the house and
drove off is such a big deal:  That's reasonable doubt, right there.

More information about the conspire mailing list