[conspire] Reiser case: Hans gets 15 to life

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Mon Sep 1 22:19:44 PDT 2008

Yesterday, as expected, Judge Goodman accepted Hans Reiser's deal to
reduce the conviction from 1st to 2nd degree murder, the sentence
from 25-to-life to 15-to-life, and waive his right to appeal either the
verdict or the sentence.

Reiser finally gave his, er, 2.0 version of the Sept. 3, 2006 events:[1]
According to his new courtroom statement as relayed through attorney
William DuBois outside the Oakland courtroom, after dropping off the
kids at the Reiser residence in the Oalkand hills, Nina Reiser breezily
mentioned that she intended to keep taking the children to doctor
appointments because she already had full legal custody.  (Hans
attempted during his trial to portray Nina as inventing spurious
illnesses for the children, which he maintained were nonexistent, and
for which he was obliged to foot the bill.  It was a hot point of
contention during the divorce and custody battles.)

DuBois says Hans snapped when he heard Nina make this "cavalier" remark,
punched her in the mouth, and then choked her to death by compressing
her carotid artery.  He then stuffed the corpse in a duffel bag and
stuffed it in the Honda CRX while digging a grave 1/2 mile away in
Redwood Regional Park.

   They had a discussion that lasted for about two hours. Near the end
   of the discussion, he got angry. He struck her in the head with his
   fist and then strangled her to death, and put her in a bag, in a
   duffel bag, brought her up to his driveway, ultimately loaded her
   into his car, and then that evening, when his kids went up to sleep,
   he went up into the Redwood Regional Park, selected a location for a
   grave site and then dug all night.  [Reiser spent two nights digging 
   a hole in the hills as his children slept.]  The next night, when
   the kids went to sleep again, he dug again and dug for a second
   night.  And it was that second night, after the digging and completing 
   the hole, he buried her.

During sentencing proceedings, Reiser apologised to Nina Reiser's mother
Irina Sharanova, his and Nina's children, her boyfriend, and her
friends.  He also apologised "for the time I've wasted for all the
people who worked very hard to convict me of my crime", and expressed
his admiration of the Judge Goodman and the Oakland PD investigative
team.  He reiterated that he continued to believe that Nina had invented
imaginary diseases for the children ("Munchausen by proxy syndrome") and
was willing to take a polygraph to that effect.  He also attempted to
quibble over the yes/no question of whether DuBois and Richard Tamor had
given him effective assistance of counsel, but finally settled on "yes"
after not being permitted to qualify his answer.

Judge Goodman, at some pains to refute public claims that Reiser had
"gamed" the court system to get "only" 15 years,  revealed to spectators
the particulars of the prosecution deal Hans had refused back in 2006:
three years on a conviction of voluntary manslaugher.  Goodman's point
was that Hans, who could have been release in early 2009, now might
actually never emerge from prison at all, and now the Sharanovas and
Reiser children will know for certain what became of Nina.  Without the
deal, they "would have forever been left with unanswered questions."

Hans's mother Beverly Palmer, Nina's best friend Ellen Doren, her
ex-boyfriend Sean Sturgeon, and several of the jurors were in
the audience.

Doren said that Nina's family will now be re-burying her in Russia.

In a separate legal action, the 1st District Court of Appeal settled 
a custody dispute over the Reiser children by declaring it moot.  Family
court had made the depedents of the Alameda County Juvenile Court in
autumn 2006, and grandmother Irina Sharanova's failure to return them to
the USA in January 2007 caused Juvenile Court to attempt to recover the
children, only to find that Russian courts refused to cooperate.
Attorneys for the children attempted to lift Juvenile Court's order, so
they could continue to live in Russia without being pursued by
California courts.  A state appeals court had sided with the children,
and Rory's November trial testimony was covered by a treaty allowing
witnesses free passage.  However, Family Court still attempted to
compel appearance to determine whether the Rory and the Russian social
workers who aided him and Sharanova should be held in contempt.
Monday's Court of Appeal ruling was, essentially, that that question
doesn't matter any more.

[1] On Aug. 21, Reiser filed with the court an 82-minute videotaped
confession.  The transcript of that confession is said to print out to
30 pages of text.

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