[conspire] Reiser case: job offer, debt, cellular call records, searches

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Sat Feb 9 00:33:05 PST 2008

We 2008-02-06:  Court was delayed by two days by the unexpectedly early
birth of prosecutor Paul Hora's second son, over the weekend.
Accordingly, prosecution's cased didn't finish this week, start of
defence's case has been delayed, etc.

First witness was SF Public Dept. of Public Health project manager
Patricia Ann Erwin, confirming that Nina Reiser accepted a job offer
from the Department two days before she vanished.  Nina would have
earned $50k/year plus benefits working with Russian immigrants, starting
Th 2006-09-21, but never showed, and never contacted them after a
telephone conversation on Fr 2006-09-01.

Hora:   "What was your impression of her?" 
Erwin:  "She was very outgoing, friendly, uhm, she was easy to connect
        with. She seemed down to earth. She seemed very committed to 
        working with us, a strong commitment to supporting the community."

Erwin:  "She talked about her kids starting school. The school year
        would be starting.  My impression was they were a major part 
        of her life."

Erwin testified that Nina seemed excited by the job offer, when called
on Th 2006-08-31.

On cross-examination, defence attorney William DuBois asked about a call
Erwin received from Nina's boyfriend Anthony Zografos:

DuBois:  "He conveyed to you the idea that people close to her were
         hoping for her return?" 
Erwin:   "Yes."

Next up was account manager Richard Wilson of major credit reporting
agency TransUnion, describing Hans's credit records as showing him about
$90,000 in debt including $29,000 in unpaid child support, and Nina in
the hole by about $30,000.  It was unstated how much of either figure
was joint debt from their marriage.  Neither amount has been increasing.

Next was cellular telephone engineer Mike Caniglia of AT&T Mobility,
talking about call activity on Hans's cellular at the time of Nina's
disappearance.  There was nothing from 2006-09-01 to 5:02pm on Tu
2006-09-05, when a call to check voicemail occurred.  Then there was an
8-second call to Nina's cellular at 5:04pm on Tu 2006-09-05.  (Nina
disappeared two days earlier.)  Following that, the number received
several incoming calls, which all went straight to voicemail.

Th 2008-02-07:  Jody Citizen of Verizon Wireless testified that Nina
Reiser's last telephone calls were both to Hans Reiser's cellular number
just before she disappeared on Su 2006-09-03, once for 62 seconds at
1:40pm and then again for 22 seconds at 2:04pm.  The second call was
routed through a cellular station at 9th Street and Heinz Avenue, seven
blocks from the Berkeley Bowl market at 2020 Oregon Street where she
shopped with the children, going through checkout around 2pm.  

The only cellular activity after that was incoming calls beginning with
Ellen Doren's at 6:27pm, all of which went directly to voicemail.

On cross-examination by DuBois, Citizen confirmed that Nina's ex-lover
(and confessed mass murderer) Sean Sturgeon was an authorised user of
Nina's Verizon account, and the billing address was in fact Sturgeon's.
She also admitted that there's no way to determine where Nina's cellular
went after the 2:04pm call, nor of determining when exactly it was
powered off.

Last witness of the day was Alameda County DA's Inspector Frank
Moschetti, who organised three searches of the Oakland Hills, looking
for Nina.  The Sa 2006-09-23 search used ~175 searchers, followed by
repeat efforts on Sa 2006-12-02 (50 searchers) and Su 2007-08-19.
Nothing was found.  Searchers looked 200-300 feet off of roads, and
inspected the landscape visually.

Hora asked Moschetti to describe the terrain, and was told that the
search area was vast, with thick brush and steep ravines, and was
dangerous to traverse.  Asked about the likelihood of finding bodies in
such conditions, Moschetti said, "That is the proverbial needle in a
haystack, and Nina Reiser was the needle."  He estimated a 10-20% chance
of finding any body, were it there.  Asked what portion of the East Bay
hills hadn't been searched, he said "Most of it."

Hora asked if Hans Reiser had participated in any of the searches.  "No,

A brief cross-examination followed:

DuBois:    "If she wasn't killed at all, and just left the area, you
           wouldn't find her?"
Moschetti: "That's right."

Nina's mother Irina Sharanova is expected to testify Monday with the
help of a translator, as one of Hora's final witnesses.

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