"I just keep thinking that I'm stuck in George Orwell's 1984," he said while shackled, dressed in a red, prison-issue jumpsuit, and locked in a cement room. "The government has taken away my kids, invaded my house, held me in solitary confinement and caused me all sorts of financial problems."
Name: Hans Thomas Reiser
Born: December 19, 1963
Race or Ethnicity: White
Height and Weight:
Occupation: Computer Programmer
Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Creator of the Reiser3 and Reiser4 filesystems.
Father: Ramon Reiser
Mother: Beverly Palmer
Wife: Nina (m. 1999, sep. May-2004)
High School: (does not graduate, but goes straight to UC Berkeley at age 15)
University: BA Systematizing, UC Berkeley
Work: IBM Almaden Research Center, 1992-1993.
Work: Founded and ran Namesys, Inc., 1997-2006 (Naming System Venture).
Name: Nina Sharanova
Born: November 3, 1974
Race or Ethnicity: White (Jew)
Height and Weight: 5 ft 5 in, 114 pounds
Nationality: Russia (U.S. citizen May, 2004)
Mother: Irina Sharanova
Wife: Hans Reiser (m. 1999, sep. May, 2004)
1997: Han Reiser, age 32, founds Namesys, Inc., to develop a better computer filesystem. Most staff are in Russia, to which he takes frequent trips. Over the years, various Linux companies financially support the development, with the German company, SuSE, being the main contributor. After the American company, Novell, purchases SuSE, this support is stopped.
His filesystem, Reiser3 (ReiserFS) becomes the default Linux filesystem, the filesystem used by most Linux users. Although, Reiser3 is an outstanding filesystem, Reiser4 is better, again. The adoption of Reiser4, is actively resisted by Red Hat and associates. Their resistance, is taken to absurd levels.
1999: Hans contacts a Russian dating service, in St. Petersburg, to find a bride and meets Nina Sharanova, age 22. Nina has likewise been advertising for a husband. They date for a year.
Nina moves to Oakland and marries Hans while five months pregnant with their first child, Rory. Reiser claims his wife conceived their son, the first night they meet. Hans continues to go on frequent trips to Russia.
After their marriage, the Reisers lived for a time in Moscow. Hans Reiser, a software developer, employed Russian programmers to help with his business. Nina's mother, Irina Sharanova, said she often visited her daughter in Moscow.
1999-09-28: Son Rory is born.
2001-05: Daughter Niorlene is born.
Shortly, after the birth of Niorlene, Nina has an extramarital sexual affair with Hans' best friend, cross-dresser and BDSM enthusiast Sean Sturgeon, with whom she moves in. (Sturgeon had attended their wedding, in drag, as the bridesmaid. He was claimed to be addicted to pain pills and to have the word "rage" carved into his arm.)
2001: The Pentagon's R&D agency, DARPA, awards Namesys a $600,000 grant to build the filesystem of the future.
Hans' father, Ramon Reiser, takes a break from teaching high school science, to help out at Namesys.
Ramon Reiser soon becomes suspicious of his new daughter-in-law, who has taken the title of, chief financial officer, at Namesys. Ramon tells Hans that he believes Nina is stealing large amounts of money from Namesys and cooking the books. Hans does not initially believe him.
2004 Sturgeon lends Namesys $84,000 early in 2004.
2004, May: Nina gets US citizenship.
2004, May: Nina files for legal separation from Hans.
"She divorced me the day she became a citizen. I don't know whether it was the exact day, but same month -- close enough," Reiser said (ABC 20/20).
2004, May: Nina kicks Hans out of their home. Hans moves into his mother's house at 6979 Exeter Drive, in the Montclair District, Oakland hills. He pays $600 a month in rent. Nina and children eventually move to 49th Street, in Oakland, a few miles away.
2004-08: Attorney, Shelley Gordon, files divorce papers on Nina's behalf. Nina, is in Russia at the time. The divorce is still unconcluded two years later, at the time of Nina's disappearance. Child custody is heavily contested. On her return from Russia, Nina testifies that Hans has been psychologically traumatizing Rory (then aged 4) by making him watch violent movies (an example given was, "Saving Private Ryan") and play violent video games (an example given was, "Battle Vietnam"), causing him nightmares and was away so often on business as to be an ineffective parent.
Hans claims that Nina's boyfriend, Sean Sturgeon, is a danger to the children. He obtains a court order to keep Sturgeon away from them.
2004-12: Nina gets a temporary restraining order requiring him to remain distant, alleging he had "pushed" her and was "abusive."
2004-12-30: Sean Sturgeon, files a lawsuit against Hans, charging failure to repay an $84,000 loan, seeking $131,552 in damages.
2005-02-15: Reiser asserts that the money was loaned to Namesys, Inc. and that he is therefore, in no way, personally liable for repayment. He claims that Sturgeon is having an illicit affair with his wife and that Sturgeon is residing with her, and his children, in defiance of a court order (to keep away from Reiser's children). Nina, he says, spent most of the $84,000 loan during the divorce action and during Sturgeon's cohabitation with her. He notes that the lawsuit is not bought against the company, but against him as an individual and that the co-owner of the company, Nina Reiser, is not named as a defendant. Reiser claims, that this "is clear evidence of his malicious intent to destroy the defendant's marriage and leave the defendant to clean up the wreckage and pay the debts."
2005-09-08: Reiser, lodges a cross-complaint claiming that Sturgeon intentionally seduced Nina in an effort to "show that he was a better man than I and to convince my wife, Nina, to conspire with him to steal the Namesys company assets." Reiser states that Sturgeon acted as his financial agent from 1999 through 2002 and had access to and control over deposits, withdrawals and funds at the Patelco Credit Union. He also claims that Sturgeon had attempted to extort money from Hans and his mother by threatening to contact the Internal Revenue Service. The suits are eventually settled (one, just after Nina disappears).
2005-12: Nina wins full legal custody and shared physical custody of the children. Divorce legal proceedings, however, continue and Hans, is to have the children with him one weeknight per week and every other weekend. Hans is ordered to pay $5,400 a month child support. This amount is contested and later reduced to $1,000 a month.
Wed 2006-01-04: Nina withdraws her court motion for a permanent restraining order, and in exchange, Hans, without admitting guilt, agrees to be bound by a one-year civil restraining order prohibiting him from contacting, harassing or disturbing the peace of Nina at her home or place of work and ordering him to stay at least 100 yards away from her.
Fri 2006-04-28: Hans contributes $2,000 to Alameda County Supervisor Gail Steele's election campaign, as part of his new-found cause, to reform what he sees as a flawed family court system and sends her e-mail saying this cause may end up being his true life's work.
Thu 2006-05-08: Nina brings administrative law proceedings of civil contempt against Hans, alleging he has failed to pay 10 months child support, at $5,400 a month, and 50% of medical and child-care expenses, for a total of over $54,000. This amount is reduced to $12,161.
2006-07: Nina takes Rory to Russia, about two months before she disappears and (in defiance of a court order) arranges Russian citizenship for him. Nina had acquired Russian citizenship for daughter, Niorline, some two years earlier.
Sun 2006-07-30: Nina mets Anthony Zografos through the Craigslist Web site.
Wed 2006-08-16: Reiser's attorney, Gregory Silva, files a response to Nina's lawsuit, in which she claims Reiser is complying with the payment schedule that the parties had agreed upon.
Fri 2006-08-25: Hans pleads not guilty to civil contempt, his attorney saying the contempt claim "is not only inappropriate and unfair but underhanded and deceitful." Trial is scheduled for Wed 2006-10-11, but Reiser seems to have been found guilty, without the need for this trial (which never eventuates).
Wed 2006-08-30: Reiser places an angry call to the Alameda County Department of Child Support Services, after getting a warning notice ordering him to pay the $12,161 the system now claims he owes in child support. The notice informs Reiser that the county can confiscate belongings to make good on the debt and that, if found in contempt of court, he may go to jail. The amount has since ballooned to $30,645.
Fri 2006-09-01: Nina is offered a full-time job with the San Francisco Public Health Department to serve as a liaison with Russian immigrants. It is also claimed that Nina is preparing to take an examination to qualify to practice medicine in California.
Hans telephones Supervisor Gail Steele four times about the court-reform issue, but...
In court, Nov. 28, 2007, Gail Steele says she didn't recall talking to Hans this day. However, Hans' phone records show that on Sept. 1, there was a 16-minute phone call and a separate six-minute call between Hans and someone in Steele's office (the two other calls were apparently very short). But Steele said, neither she, nor her staff, recalled talking to Hans (perhaps Hans was kept on hold for these periods).
These four calls have been used to insinuate an obsession with reforming the family court process, however, it turns out this was just Hans, attempting and failing, to make contact with Steele. This shows how easily, even facts, can be slanted.
Sun 2006-09-03, 10:30 AM: Nina speaks by telephone to best friend and fellow Russian emigree bride, Ellen Doren.
Sun 2006-09-03, 12:37 PM: Nina spends $15.18 on takeout food, according to police criminalist, Todd Weller, who found two receipts from the Berkeley Bowl (2020 Oregon St, Berkeley) in Nina's billfold, which, inexplicably, was left in her vehicle. Items included, soup, egg rolls, pot stickers and soybeans. Was this lunch, for her and her children? What then, of the family eating again on arrival at Hans' home?
Sun 2006-09-03, 1:55 PM: Nina goes through the store's checkout after spending $144.48 for 51 items, including crackers, yogurt, sour cream, Lucky Charms cereal, pretzels, English muffins, seven kinds of fruit, extra-large brown eggs, chicken and butter. Nina spends about one and a half hours at the Berkeley Bowl. It is not known whether she meet anyone there for lunch.
A few days later, Berkeley Bowl officials tells KTVU they had reviewed their security camera tapes for the day, but could not identify Nina Reiser and children. However, the prosecution later produces footage of Nina and the children. One wonders if this footage is from September 3, or some earlier visit, as Nina's son has testified to not remembering visiting the store, that day. There should be plenty of store surveillance video, considering how long she was at the store.
Sun 2006-09-03, 2:02 PM: According to a probable cause search warrant filed in court, the last call made from her cell phone was at 2:02 p.m. and was made to Hans Reiser's home.
Sun 2006-09-03, 2:30 PM: Nina arrives at Hans and his mother Beverly Palmer's house in Exeter Drive, Oakland, to drop off the children. She accompanies the children into the house. There had been a disagreement over who was supposed to have the kids this weekend and it was decided to split it up. Hans was to have the children until Tuesday morning, when he would take them to school. One assumes that Nina was to pick them up after school.
Sun 2006-09-03, 6:00 PM: Nina fails to show up for dinner with Ellen Doren.
Sun 2006-09-03, 6:30 PM: Ellen Doren leaves a message on Nina Reiser's cellphone. She keeps waiting and calling.
Sun 2006-09-03, 9:00 PM: Ellen Doren leaves a message on Nina Reiser's cellphone. This time, it doesn't ring, but instead goes straight to voice mail. This is meant to mark the point where the battery is taken from Nina's cellphone. Police claim, that Reiser never tries to call this cellphone, to find out where Nina is. This is disingenuous, as Reiser does not find out that Nina is missing until Tuesday.
Sun 2006-09-03: Neither, Reiser's children, nor any of his neighbors, report seeing Nina's Honda Odyssey minivan parked at the house later in the afternoon. This is odd, since if Nina doesn't drive it away, who does? Reiser's children have testified that Reiser does not leave them alone. Is it really possible, that no one notices the minivan, even though it is supposedly parked there till night?
Apparently, we are meant to believe, that Reiser waits until his children are asleep. He then drags Nina's, now rigid body, to his tiny Honda CRX, rather than Nina's much larger minivan, and forces the body through the passenger door, into the tiny car's front seat, rather than lifting it into the trunk, through the more roomy hatchback. Apparently, Reiser believes that a corpse on the front passenger seat, will be of less interest to the police and other wandering eyes, than one obscured in the trunk.
Reiser, doesn't seem to mind leaving Nina's minivan, like an, "I did it!" sign, painted conspicuously on his house. He also, doesn't bother to remove Nina's cellphone battery, till late that evening, even though his kids continually ask him why the freezer keeps ringing, "just like Nina's phone." We are later told, that Reiser makes a habit of removing cellphone batteries, but this day, he forgets.
On Sept. 3, 2006, sunset is at 7:37 PM. It is dark about 8:00 PM.
Of course, though it is more likely that Nina carried her cellphone with her, it is possible, that it was ringing all afternoon while in her minivan. If we assume the children are asleep by 8 PM, then Reiser must dispose of her body and return to his house, within less than an hour, in order to remove Nina's cellphone battery some time shortly before 9 PM. An impossible task. Reiser would then have to drive the minivan to its final location, close to the home of Ellen Doren, and then walk the 3 miles back to his home. All this, without his children, or anyone else, noticing.
It is claimed, that Reiser removed the cellphone battery in order to delay police finding the van and thus, any clues from the van. In this case, it is not clear why he left her billfold, cellphone and other clues in the van. In fact, it is not clear why he didn't just torch the vehicle, as this would destroy all evidence associated with it. It should be noted that Reiser left no fingerprints, no DNA, i.e., no spit, hair, skin flakes, blood, etc, no evidence of any kind, that he was in the van.
It is impossible to put together a consistent account of events of this day, if Reiser killed Nina at his house, as claimed.
However, if Nina drove away in her van, there is nothing to explain.
Mon 2006-09-04: The press is suspiciously silent about what happens this day. For example, we never hear what Reiser's son says about it in his pre-trial police interview, of Sept. 25, 2006. We never hear what Hans or Doren does on this day.
Many of the early press reports, mention that Nina is reported missing on Sept. 4, and that this is due to Nina failing to pick up the children. When the person reporting, is mentioned, it is always Ellen Doren. When the place that the children were not picked up from, is mentioned, it is always "school." Here is an example:
"Reiser went shopping at Berkeley Bowl afterward, police believe, but never showed up for dinner at her friend's house that evening. When she didn't pick up her children from school the next day, Sept. 4, friend Ellen Doren alerted authorities."
The problem with all these reports is that Monday, Sept. 4, was a holiday, thus there was no school. It is the Monday, of the Labor Day weekend. Funny, how all these press reports, make the same mistake, at the same time.
Ellen Doren does not phone Hans, or visit his house, to find out if Nina might be with him and the children, or to see if she has picked up the children and gone elsewhere. Is this because Doren already knows where Nina is?
Mon 2006-09-04, 5:30 PM: Nina fails to show up for dinner and a movie with latest boyfriend Antonio Zografos.
Tue 2006-09-05: The children attend day care at Joaquin Miller School. One assumes that Hans Reiser takes them to day care.
Tue 2006-09-05, 2:00 PM: Reiser's mother, Beverly Palmer, and Mark McGothigan, return from the Burning Man festival in Nevada's Black Rock Desert. McGothigan, describes Palmer, as his best friend.
Tue 2006-09-05, 2:30 PM: Doren, turns up at the Joaquin Miller school to pick up the children from day care, but does not have permission for this and leaves without them. She tells school employees that "Nina is out of town." On Jan. 2, 2007, a teacher at the day care program, Natalie Potter, testifies that Nina's daughter, Niorline, was with Doren and that Doren made the remark "for the benefit of the child."
So, we are to believe that Doren, who is worried sick about her missing friend Nina, does not ask Niorline if she has seen her mother recently, or otherwise knows where she is. Doreen appears to be absolutely certain that Niorline does not know. How is this? Is this because Doreen already knows where Nina is?
Apparently, Potter does not ask either children if they know where their mother is. It should be emphasized that, as far as we know, the children attend a whole day of day care, without worrying about their mom. In all, it is clear that the daughter and probably the son, have no idea their mother is missing.
Tue 2006-09-05, 5:00 PM: Reiser, arrives at the Joaquin Miller school and sets up a meeting to discuss the program's enrollment policies. He speaks with Natalie Potter. Although Potter knows that Nina is missing, she neither tells Reiser this, nor asks Reiser if he knows where Nina is. Reiser states that he is not there to pick up the children and he gives his permission for Doren to pick them up, which she does a few minutes later, at about 5:15 PM. Reiser is at the school for about 10 minutes.
Tue 2006-09-05: At an unknown time, but supposedly after Nina does not pick up the children from day care, Ellen Doren files a missing-persons report.
At an unknown time, police conduct a phone interview with Reiser. Later, much of the press, repeatedly claim, "they have not been able to reach Hans Reiser since their investigation began." The police interview probably occurs before Doren calls.
At an unknown time, Doren phones Hans. She tells him she has the children and asks if he knows where Nina is, mentioning that Nina was last seen at his home. (It is not know why Doren has not called Reiser earlier.) This implicit accusation was noted by Reiser, who said, "I need to talk to my lawyer." This may be the first time that Reiser hears that Nina is missing.
Reiser drives his mother's, Honda Civic, to McGothigan's house near Mills College in Oakland to pick up his mom. Reiser spends about an hour at McGothigan's home. Reiser explains he is using the Honda Civic, as he is having trouble getting the CRX to start. He does not tell his mother, that Nina is missing, till the next day.
Tue 2006-09-05, 10:00-11:00 PM: A neighbor, Jack Stabb, sees Hans "spraying water off of something in the driveway for half-an-hour." Stabb, states he did not have direct vision of the driveway and could not say for sure whether a car was being washed. He also mentioned that the next morning, the driveway was filthy and covered with pine needles.
The most likely explanation for this, is that Reiser was cleaning his mother's 2003 Honda Civic, after her return from the Burning Man trip earlier in the day. You know, cleaning off the mud and pine needles and such.
Stabb also said, "Reiser, meanwhile, was 'dressed for winter,' wearing what looked like a hooded hunting jacket."
Reiser was probably wearing a raincoat. This is not unusual when cleaning up with a hose and spraying around a lot of water.
Beverly Palmer, also owns a banged-up 1988 Honda CRX Si hatchback that Reiser had the use of. This car is often referred to as Reiser's car.
Hans mentions that he has been having trouble starting his car. On either Sept. 6, 7 or 8, Reiser borrows his mother's Honda Civic for a prolonged period, which leaves her stranded. She is forced to rent a car for her own use. Palmer, said she asked her son to return her Honda Civic, but Hans said he needed it, because the CRX wouldn't start. She assumed the battery was dead.
Wed 2006-09-06: Oakland PD (Police Department) ask Palmer if they could take a look around her house; she refuses.
Probably, Doren drops the children at day care and Reiser collects them from day care.
Around this time, Oakland PD subject Hans and his mother to three days of questioning. Hans later claims that he cooperates with the police until the point where he figures out that this was not a missing-persons investigation, but rather a murder one, and that he is their prime suspect (I have been unable to find a reference for this). Reiser tells an unnamed friend that the battery in his Honda CRX has died.
Thu 2006-09-07: Nina fails to show for a meeting to get fingerprinted and fill out paperwork needed for her new job, helping Russian immigrants maneuver the health-care system, at the San Francisco Department of Public Health.
Fri 2006-09-08: Child Protective Services takes the children from school. They are placed with a foster family. The foster family, just happens to be, that of Ellen Doren and her husband. In court, Dec. 12, 2007, Doren admits (in an obscured way) to being the children's foster parent. Reiser, immediately begins court action to get his children back.
Fri 2006-09-08, 7:20 PM: At Borders Books in Berkeley, Hans purchases two books on police murder investigations, Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets, by David Simon, and Masterpieces of Murder, by Jonathan Goodman. Apparently, to find out about police excesses in homicide investigation. It appears that Reiser fears he may be, about to be, framed for murder.
DuBois says that the books contain chapters on how corrupt police plant evidence and set up murder scenes. Attorney, Daniel Horowitz, later states, "He's an intelligent man. He's going to want to know what the police are up to. What's he supposed to be doing, reading comic books?"
Sat 2006-09-09: Oakland PD locate Nina's 2001 Honda Odyssey minivan on Fernwood Drive in the Thornhill neighbourhood just east of the CA-13 Warren Freeway. Her groceries are spilled in the the back seat, her purse is in the car, and her cellular telephone is in the purse with its battery detached. There are no signs of a struggle. We can assume, Hans' DNA was not found in the van. This location is about three miles from 6979 Exeter Drive and very close to the home of Ellen Doren, on Capricorn Avenue.
Police claim, that neighbors first spotted the minivan on Sept. 5, the same day the mother failed to pick up her children from school. By the time Chris Bunn testifies on Dec. 13, 2007, this has become, "it had been parked (there) for several days" or "it had been there for three, or four, days." Possibly, the van was not parked there on Sept 3 and 4. In fact, it is initially reported that, "Witnesses in the neighborhood told police the van was parked there on Sept 5."
Sun 2006-09-10: Hans visits a Kragen Auto Parts in San Lorenzo to buy shop towels (small, usually blue, towels used to wipe grease and oil from ones hands) and a bottle of Valvoline fuel dryer (this is used to get water out of a car's gas tank (we know Hans was having trouble starting the car and fuel dryer may indeed help)) and antifreeze. Forty five minutes later, he returns to buy a siphon pump.
Reiser calls his mother from the Fresh Choice restaurant in San Leandro. It appears she is very angry and demands the Honda Civic back. Hans tells her she can come and pick it up. She gets a friend (perhaps, McGothigan) to give her a ride to the restaurant and repossesses her car. After returning home, she applies a "club steering lock," and leaves the car parked in McGothigan's driveway.
Hans stays overnight at a Motel 6 in Fremont.
Mon 2006-09-11: Hans withdraws $130 in cash from Telco Credit Union. That night, he buys some clothing at Target, in Hayward.
At some point, Child Protective Services tells Beverly Palmer, that they would only consider giving her custody of the children, if Hans were to move out. The exact date is not known. It has been claimed that the reason for this demand, was that Reiser was the subject of a criminal investigation. The problem with this, is simply that it is false.
In fact, a few days later, Deputy Police Chief Howard Jordan would say "Reiser wasn't even considered a suspect,... as there's no evidence that a crime has been committed." So, not only was Hans not the subject of a criminal investigation, there was not even a criminal investigation.
Tue 2006-09-12, 7:20 PM: Hans is able to get the Honda CRX running again. He is given a traffic ticket while driving it in Redwood City. The Redwood City PD officer later recounts that the car still had its passenger-side front seat.
In court, Dec. 18, 2007, the issuing officer, Sgt. Eric Stasiak, confirmed that there was nothing unusual about the car, such as blood, that would have made him investigate further. He also said that the car was full of food wrappers and clothing. When asked, was the car "Sort of like it was lived in, almost?" Stasiak replies in agreement, "That's what it appeared to me."
Wed 2006-09-13: At least a dozen police officers, forensics experts and a cadaver dog, arrive at 7 a.m., to search 6979 Exeter Drive. No body or murder weapon are found. An agent with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement also participates in the search.
According to filings in Alameda County Superior Court, a notice of settlement was filed by, Greg Silva, on Hans Reiser's behalf, to resolve a lawsuit filed against him by Sean Sturgeon.
Reiser makes an appearance in the Oakland family court, where he is trying to get back his children (from Child Protective Services).
Thu 2006-09-14: DuBois, says his client did not appear in court Thursday, because of the police's conduct at the house he currently shares with his mother. DuBois says Hans Reiser believes police lied to his mother in an effort to get her out of the house.
Reiser's mother, Beverly Palmer, appears in the family court. She does not comment on what happened in the closed proceeding but does say she saw her son Wednesday at his attorney's office. This comment implies that Reiser has already moved from his mother's house.
Police continue their search of 6979 Exeter Drive. They continue to watch Hans, but (later) say they keep losing sight of him, and believe him to be conducting counter-surveillance tactics. Later testimony, seems to indicate that Reiser was unaware of much of the police surveillance.
Fri 2006-09-15: Deputy Police Chief Howard Jordan said Reiser isn't considered a suspect at this point because police are still treating the situation as a missing persons case and there's no evidence that a crime has been committed. Police continue their search of 6979 Exeter Drive.
DuBois states, "I've called police several times during the week and offered to make my client (Reiser) available (to police) and they just blow it off." Police claim that Reiser is avoiding them.
Sat 2006-09-16: Hans sends an e-mail to the Russian employees of his company, Namesys: "As you'll probably hear, Nina has disappeared. As her ex-husband, as statistics show, I'm being investigated. I'll be difficult to reach at times."
At some unknown date, perhaps around this time, Child Protective Services tells Beverly Palmer that Reiser is sleeping in the Honda CRX. They claim that this makes him a poor candidate for getting custody of the children. It is not known who told Child Protective Services. One assumes, the police.
Sun 2006-09-17: Hans visits Manteca (about 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. Had the Honda CRX broken down again? Did Reiser transport it back to Oakland in the U-Haul truck? Later, he visits San Lorenzo Kragen Auto Parts to buy a 40-piece socket wrench set.
In response to Child Protective Services demand that Reiser move out of his mother's house, Reiser initially moves into the Honda CRX. His mother has stated that he slept in the front seat. One assumes, that he bought the 40-piece socket wrench set, to remove the front passenger seat, so that he could sleep lying down. Reiser claims that he viewed the self-storage facility, with an eye to living in it. Police say, he wanted to hide the CRX in it.
Mon 2006-09-18: Alameda County Family Court holds hearings about custody of the children. Oakland PD give secret testimony opposing Hans getting custody. Police said they couldn't share the evidence, not even with the commissioner. Saying that they have evidence that they cannot reveal, makes Reiser distrustful of, and angry with, police.
The police clearly lied, as we now know they had no evidence at all, at this time.
DuBois says, officers "testified (secret testimony) against him but now they want him to talk to them (about Nina)."
Family court judge, Nancy Lonsdale, issues a temporary ruling, ordering the children remain with the Ellen Doren and her husband (the foster family). A final ruling is expected, after another hearing on the 27th of September. Reiser is unhappy with Lonsdale's ruling and asks that the matter be reconsidered by another magistrate, Commissioner Rhonda Burgess. This request is apparently granted.
Hans is secretly trailed from the courtroom, in an operation involving 12 officers in numerous unmarked cars and a special surveillance aircraft. A later police affadvit says Hans with friend, Artem Mishin, driving him "appeared to be conducting counter-surveillance" by driving at varying speeds, turning down small residential streets and making abrupt stops.
Mishin later testifies that he had "no idea" at the time that Oakland police were secretly trailing them. "They did a good job," Mishin said. In court, Dec. 17, 2007, Mishin gives a number of innocent explanations for their behavior.
Hans has dinner with his friend in Albany, is dropped off at San Pablo and Ashby, in Berkeley, walks several blocks to Acton near Carlson, gets into his Honda CRX and drives to 2425 Monterey Boulevard, near the Montclair Golf Course (2477 Monterey Blvd).
What are we to make of the report by officer, Eugene Guerrero, that Reiser parked the Honda on Monterey Boulevard along Highway 13 and on four occasions, walked away from the car before returning and opening and closing the trunk?
Why does he not report that Reiser walked away from the car a fifth time, after closing the trunk. I suggest, it is because Reiser got into the car through the hatchback and closed it from within. He then slept in the car.
Records, consistently claim that the Honda CRX was seized the next morning. Records, also claim that the car was seized shortly after Reiser left the car. This is further evidence, that Reiser slept in the car overnight and that police witnessed this.
If Reiser left the vehicle the next morning after sleeping in it, what are we to make of the reports of him leaving the car, speaking to a taxi driver and then sprinting up Shepherd Canyon Road (initially reported as Snake Boulevard) that evening?
First, the entrance to Shepherd Canyon Road is about half a mile from where Reiser was parked. It is unclear how he gets to Shepherd Canyon Road (or Snake Boulevard) without being spotted.
Second, the police never got close enough to the person "sprinting up Shepherd Canyon Road," to catch him. Third, it was dark. So, the identity of this person, as Reiser, is quite suspect. Also, the taxi and sprinter incidents, may have been fabricated to draw unwanted police eyes away from seeing exactly what Reiser was about.
Fourth, the police felt it necessary to "buttress" their position with a witness who might, or might not, have seen Reiser running up Shepherd Canyon Road, on that night, or perhaps the night before, or perhaps the night after, or perhaps the night after that. Why did they bother with this worthless witness, Goli Fahid, at all?
Tue 2006-09-19, 10:30 AM: Police seize the Honda CRX. It is towed by A & B Auto.
Tue 2006-09-19: In a wire-tapped call, Hans asks his mother to meet him at the Mormon Temple (4770 Lincoln Ave, Oakland), saying, "I want to talk to you about something." A few things to note:
The Mormon Temple is about 3/4 of a mile from where his Honda CRX was parked.
According to police, Hans spent the night at his mother's residence. So, why is it necessary to phone his mother from the Mormon Temple and arrange a meeting there, in order to share what he has on his mind? Why didn't he just do this when he woke up?
Putting it slightly differently; Why would he walk (Hans no longer has transport) from his mother's house to the Mormon Temple, to make a call to his mother, asking her to meet him at the temple, so that he can speak to her?
On returning to his mother's residence, police surveillance of Reiser would have resumed. The police would have spotted him there and would have reported this. Since they have not done this, there is serious doubt that he was actually there that night.
So what really happened that day?
After, showering and having breakfast (perhaps at the golf club), Reiser returns to find the CRX has vanished. Perhaps, he reports it missing. At some point he walks the 3/4 of a mile to the Mormon Temple, from where he calls his mother to pick him up, have a chat and probably drive him elsewhere. The police are suspiciously silent about what happens this day.
Police search the Honda CRX.
The contents of the Honda CRX are reported to be: a spare tire, a jack, a sleeping bag stuffsack, black plastic trashbags, masking tape, shop towels, a socket set, two books, a camping tent, a map of Stockton, an atlas of Northern California, clothes, flyers from a rental storage place in Manteca, a U-Haul one-way Manteca-to-Oakland rental agreement, the traffic citation of Sept. 12, receipts (from Kragen, Target, etc.) and 4 seat bolts.
A sleeping bag stuffsack, a camping tent, but no sleeping bag? It is now well established that Reiser had been sleeping in the Honda CRX, yet not a single press report mentions a sleeping bag in the vehicle. Not a single report, made public by the court, mentions a sleeping bag in the vehicle. Do you really think it likely that there was no sleeping bag in the vehicle, or do you think that press and police have deliberately failed to mention this?
Tue 2006-09-19: Doren announces, that if the judge makes a final ruling that the children should stay with the foster family, she "would like to be considered" for having custody of them at some point in the future. An interesting thing to say, considering she already has the children.
Wed 2006-09-20: Nina fails to show for her Sept. 20 bankruptcy filing appointment. She owes nearly $83,000 on her credit cards; $8,000 on her personal cards and $75,000 on cards held jointly with Hans Reiser. Declaring Chapter 7 bankruptcy would dump $75,000 of her credit-card debt onto Hans. Nina's court filings attested to $62,740 in assets, including $7,000 in a bank account and a $3,500 account with her landlord.
Nina was also to sit, Step 1, of the United States Medical Licensing Examination, this day. This is the first of three major medical exams needed to become licensed as a doctor in the United States. Nina was taking classes at the Berkeley Kaplan Center which prepares students for the exam. Although, enrolled at the Kaplan Center since 2002, Nina is still to complete Step 1. On Sept. 3, with the exam just 17 days away, Nina still had 15 classes paid for, but unused. It is unclear, whether Nina was seriously pursuing completion of Medical Licensing Examination.
Thu 2006-09-21: Oakland police tail Hans and his mother to a Budget Rent-a-Car in Hayward, where either she, or Reiser, rents a car for his use.
Sat 2006-09-23: Hans calls his mother at her Exeter home. Oakland PD record the call and later, play it in court. DuBois claims that the call was recorded illegally.
In the call, Hans accuses Nina of continually embezzling money from Namesys, Inc., even as the business was going bankrupt. He says of Nina, "she really was nuts," she "looks for every possible way she can screw me" and that she invented fake medical problems for Rory "because she hated me and Rory was a proxy for me." He recalls an occasion when Nina had kicked him and called police in an effort to get him arrested. Hans claims that the responding officers had intended to arrest Nina, but that he'd talked them out of it, "a mistake I've paid for heavily." The call concludes:
Palmer: "All these things that she did, she still didn't deserve whatever it is that's happened to her. Don't you think?"
Hans: "I think my children shouldn't be endangered by her. All I ever wanted was to be nice to her, give her an opportunity to come to the United States."
Palmer: "Still, Nina didn't deserve whatever it is that happened to her."
Hans: "And neither did I, and neither did Rory."
Palmer: "Well hopefully we'll somehow get through all this."
Hans: "I love you a lot."
Palmer: "Good. Bye-bye."
Reiser makes three separate cash withdrawals, of $1000 each, from his credit union in San Leandro, Hayward and Fremont.
Sun 2006-09-24: Reiser withdraws more cash from three ATMs in Truckee. Hans goes gambling?
Mon 2006-09-25: DuBois states that Reiser has moved out of his house in an attempt to make it easier for his mother to get custody.
Oakland PD tapes an interview with Reiser's 6 year old son, Rory.
On, Nov. 14, 2007, this tape is played to the court and a few quotes from Rory are reported by the press. These are compared with statements from Ryan Gill's probable-cause affadavit, which also quotes from the same interview. These are then compared with a typical press fabrication (not the worst by any means).
Rory's Testimony: they came upstairs after he heard his parents "talking loudly" (previously reported as, "talking at a medium volume").
Probable-cause affadavit: The children heard their parents "possibly involved in an argument."
Press fabrication: he was downstairs playing with his sister while his parents argued upstairs.
Rory's Testimony: "My dad told us not to come into the kitchen" and "Mom told me to go downstairs."
Probable-cause affadavit: Reiser said "not to come back upstairs, not even to the kitchen area."
Press fabrication: Reiser told his son to go downstairs and "not to come back upstairs, not even to the kitchen area."
When Rory repeats his original claims from the police interview, at a hearing on Dec. 11, 2006, and later, at his father's trial, in Nov. 2007, the police, the prosecution and the press, all claim that he is contradicting himself and is thus an unreliable witness. Of course, in reality, by sticking to his original testimony, Rory is only contradicting the press fabrications.
The claim that Rory testified that he saw his mother drive away, appears to be a total fabrication. The claim suddenly appears, in many publications, around, Mar 9, 2007. This is three months after the statement was supposedly made. No record of this statement can be found before Mar 9. We are meant to believe that for three months, no one thinks it necessary to report, or even comment on, this case-busting statement. This claim is fabricated in order to discredit Rory's testimony.
Rory's Testimony: Nina "gave him a hug" near the front door, with Hans standing only "two feet" away and she left
Press fabrication: he saw his mother leave the house that day, get into her minivan and drive away
It is worth emphasizing, that this interview was played in court, Nov. 14, 2007 and no mention was made of Rory stating that he saw his mother drive away. We can safely assume that Rory never said any such thing. It is also worth emphasizing, that no mention was made of Rory stating that he heard his parents arguing upstairs. He has never said that they were. In fact, on Dec. 11, 2006, Rory testified that he did not hear his parents arguing that day. He said, the only argument (between his parents) he remembered was "a couple weeks before" his mother disappeared.
When the DA Greg Dolge asked directly, "Did you hear any kind of argument upstairs?" Rory replied, "No."
Once the tapes are played in court, Nov. 14, 2007, these previously important "contradictions," are quietly forgotten. This is because it becomes clear that the boy did not contradict himself on these issues. However, new "contradictions" are found to replace them and these are reported instead. The press, then talks about Rory's conflicting testimony, and offers a, "for instance,... [the new contradictions],..." in order not to have to mention the original "contradictions" and expose the fact that they are not contradictions at all.
And, even the new "contradictions," are not actually contradictions. They are mistakes. Claiming he went to school the day after his mother disappeared, is a mistake that many newspapers made when reporting this case (see above). Saying Nina dropped him off at school on Tue. Sept 5, is also simply a mistake, not a contradiction. Many people make mistakes when they report their past activities. It is the court's duty to establish whether these are simply mistakes, or if they are his belief.
So what really happened that day?
In court, Nov. 13, 2007, Rory testifies to arriving at 6979 Exeter Drive with Nina, eating macaroni and (Parmesan) cheese fixed by his father, then heading downstairs to play computer games. In the police interview, Rory says he was downstairs playing computer games and that he came back upstairs after hearing his parents "talking at a medium volume," in the living room.
Rory also states that, "Dad was a bit louder than normal" when he spoke with Nina. Once upstairs, Hans told Rory "not to come into the kitchen" and Nina told him "to go (back) downstairs." Asked by police officers what his parents were talking about, Rory said, "I wanted to find out but I couldn't understand. There were too many big words."
One assumes that he obeyed Nina and went back downstairs. Later, Rory comes back upstairs and says goodbye to Nina. He states that Nina "gave him a hug" near the front door, with Hans standing only "two feet" away and that, after she left, he and Hans went downstairs where he played video games with Hans. That night, he slept in Hans' bed (with Hans?).
The daughter, Niorline, was also present, but her part has been ignored.
Wed 2006-09-27: Reiser buys a phonecard in Roseville. Nina fails to show up for her first day of work, at her new job. Cheryl Hicks, an attorney for Hans Reiser, appears in Alameda County Superior Court to help gain custody of his two children.
Thu 2006-09-28: Reiser attends a child custody hearing in Alameda County Superior Court. The judge rules that the children should remain with Ellen Doren and her husband. When confronted by reporters outside the courthouse, Reiser sprints away. He runs to a nearby county building, where he visits his children and gives his son a telescope for his birthday. Oakland PD follow him and later that night, detain him for a DNA sample. He is checked for cuts, scratches or bruises. None are found.
Mon 2006-10-09, evening: Oakland PD and FBI criminologists search 6979 Exeter Drive a second time, and remove (what looks to reporters like) a door and a piece of carpet.
Tue 2006-10-10, 11 AM: Oakland PD arrest Han Reiser, at McGothigan's home on Simson Street in Oakland, on suspicion of murder. He has with him his passport and $8,960 in cash. Reiser's attorney, DuBois, complains that police are not allowing him to see his client.
DuBois states that he would not have been so surprised by an arrest six months from now, "but I am surprised they did it now." He said it's rare for someone accused of murder to be tried on only circumstantial evidence and pointed out that even with the cloud of suspicion hanging over him, Hans Reiser stayed in the area and was always willing to talk to police, if they had asked.
The image of Reiser as "conducting counter-surveillance tactics" and being "unwilling to talk to police," appears to have been, at least partially, fabricated, to cast Reiser as a man with a guilty conscience.
Wed 2006-10-11: Oakland PD announce that Forensics has found both Hans' and Nina's blood on a sleeping bag stuffsack, that was in the Honda CRX and on a pillar, at 6979 Exeter Drive. Most reports mention trace amounts of blood, or small spots of blood on the stuffsack. However, a 1 inch by 3 inch blood stain is also reported. They also found two books on police murder investigations, shop towels, masking tape, and a roll of large black trash bags, some of which had been used. 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".
We are to believe, that the traces of Nina's blood on the sleeping bag stuffsack and on the pillar, are "evidence" that Nina has been stabbed, or slashed, to death. Therefore, the traces of Hans' blood on the sleeping bag stuffsack and on the pillar, must be "evidence" that Hans has also been stabbed, or slashed, to death. However, no cuts, scratches, or even bruises, were found on Hans Reiser. Clearly, something is wrong here.
The problem is, that the blood traces do not imply recent cuts, or scratches. In fact, the blood traces may have been left on the pillar and stuffsack, some months, even years, before. Forensics, does not tell you how long ago the blood was deposited. Palmer, testified that Hans and Nina had often stayed over at her home and that they had slept in sleeping bags. The blood was probably deposited then.
Much, has been made of the floorboard underneath the carpeting being "saturated with water". It is not even clear what the steel floorboard, being "saturated with water," means. Does it mean that the carpet was in a puddle of water? Why use should convoluted language? Why not just say, the carpet was very wet?
How reasonable is it to believe that Reiser was worried enough about blood stains to remove the passenger seat, but not worried enough about blood stains, to remove the seat, until, at minimum, nine days after Nina disappeared.
How reasonable is it to believe, that Reiser was worried enough about blood stains to wash the seat area, but not worried enough about blood stains, to wash the seat area, until, some two weeks after Nina disappeared.
How reasonable is it to believe, that Reiser removed the seat and washed the seat area, to remove blood evidence, at about the time he planned to use the car as cheap accommodation, rather than to assume that he removed the seat so that he could sleep lying down and washed the seat area, because he preferred not to live in yesterdays fast food scraps.
Also, washing the seat area without removing and chemically treating the carpet, will still leave traces of blood in the carpet. It is extremely difficult to remove all evidence of blood, especially from carpet. So, the fact that forensics did not find any trace of blood in the carpet, means there never was any.
The fact that the sleeping bag stuffsack was found in the Honda CRX, does not necessarily imply it was in the car at the time of Nina's disappearance. In fact, from what we now know, it is unlikely that it was. Reiser, probably placed the sleeping bag in the car, when he needed it to sleep in.
It is often asked, "What happened to the missing car seat?" Reiser claims, that he threw it away (into a dumpster). As, the car has been described as a banged-up, worthless heap of trash (In court, Dec. 13, 2007, Jack Stabb, called it a "piece of shit."), this is not as unreasonable as some claim.
Thu 2006-10-12: Judge Trina Thompson Stanley formally arraigns (accuses) Hans of one count of (I infer) second-degree murder, based on Oakland PD Officer Ryan Gill's probable-cause affadavit. Hans delays entering a plea until a subsequent court appearance. He's remanded to Santa Rita Jail in Dublin.
He is held in solitary confinement without bail.
So, who pushed for solitary confinement, without bail, on the basis of "evidence," that attorney Daniel Horowitz describes as, trace, weak and inaccurate.
Oct 12, 2006: "There's not a lot of forensic evidence at all. Whatever they got is trace," he said.
Oct 12, 2006: Investigators are "leaking sensational information that may not even be accurate."
Oct 23, 2006: The prosecution's case is weak. "Here's the statement of probable cause, and I've read it, and their case is much weaker than they've said it is," Horowitz said.
So, who pushed for solitary confinement, without bail, on the basis of "evidence," that two months later will be called, "utterly unconvincing," by the judge Julie Conger.
Dec 11, 2006: Judge Julie Conger comments that she found Oakland PD's theory utterly unconvincing on account of its placements and timings of people not matching what had been established in court.
But, disregarding her own publicly stated conclusion, she orders the trial to proceed anyway.
Sat 2006-12-02: Volunteers search the Oakland hills looking for Nina's body. Several more such searches are conducted in the months that follow.
Mon 2006-12-11: Judge Julie Conger starts hearings to determine whether there is sufficient cause to bring the murder charge to trial, in light of the absence of a body or murder weapon, or whether the charge should be dismissed. Police produce the blood forensic evidence, a 40-piece socket wrench set and receipt from Kragen Auto Parts, and four seat bolts that might have come from the CRX.
Oakland PD forensics expert, Shannon Cavness, testifies that blood traces tested as that of a male, and also that of a female. The female blood traces on the stuffsack and pillar both contain DNA that matches Nina's blood. However, defence attorney William DuBois gets Cavness to admit that police have no idea how old the blood drops are.
Hans' mother, Beverly Palmer, testifies that Hans thinks Nina is a thief, a liar, is very neurotic and a bad parent, who doesn't give the children enough attention. DuBois asked Palmer, if she had recently called her son "an inconsiderate slob" and told him to move out from her home. Palmer laughed and said yes, adding that her son then made an effort to clean the house and their cars.
Rory, testifies that Hans told him on the morning of Sept. 5, that he would pick him up from school. The prosecution claims that this was before anyone knew of Nina Reiser's disappearance and is thus evidence of Hans' guilt. DuBois says the child simply got his days mixed up. He notes that on the day in question, Rory states that he and his sister were picked up by Oakland police after school, but this actually happened three days later, on Sept. 8.
Rory testifies that his parents sometimes argued, but more often, would just "talk" and that the only argument he really remembers was "a couple weeks before" his mother disappeared. When asked, "Did you hear any kind of argument upstairs?" Rory replies, "No."
Rory, testifies that he hadn't heard his parents arguing and that his mother walked out the door. The boy, essentially repeats his original testimony, given on Sept. 25, 2006, concerning events at Exeter Drive and is accused of contradicting himself. In reality, he only contradicts points fabricated by the media.
Rory's testimony, indicates that Reiser was at home, with his two children, at the time prosecutors allege that he killed Nina.
Alameda County prosecutor, Greg Dolge, has the press and public barred from future testimony by Rory Reiser.
Tue 2006-12-12: The hearing continues.
Wed 2006-12-13: Reiser repeatedly laughs in court as prosecutors present the circumstantial evidence they hope will convict him.
Tue 2006-12-19: The hearing resumes.
Thu 2006-12-21: Hans announces that he intends to sell Namesys, Inc., to help fund his legal defence.
Fri 2006-12-22: Alameda County Juvenile Court permits Nina's mother, Irina Sharanova, to take the two children to Russia, temporarily for the holidays, on the condition that they be returned to their foster home on Sun 2007-01-14, prior to further hearings scheduled for Wed 2007-01-17, to clear up Rory's supposedly conflicting prior testimony. Sharanova will ignore the courts demand that the children be returned by Sun 2007-01-14.
Once Sharanova has the children in Russia, she surreptitiously starts Russian-court proceedings in St. Petersberg to get permanent legal custody. Can she really do this? Is it really possible for a Russian court to decide the fate of American citizens, whose only legal connection to Russia, is that their mother has managed to obtain Russian citizenship for them?
Thu 2006-12-28: Reiser, pleads not guilty to murder. Hans Reiser's second attorney, Daniel Horowitz, withdraws from the case. Horowitz, is apparently too outspoken for this trial. DuBois says that Reiser "can't afford Mr. Horowitz at this time." He also claims that it was Reiser's decision to push for a speedy hearing. DuBois says he agrees with this decision.
Tue 2007-01-02: Judge Conger's hearings, on the quality of the circumstantial evidence, continue.
Tue 2007-01-16: Rory Reiser is due to continue his tesimony in a closed courtroom. However, Irina Sharanova does not return the Reiser children as previously agreed. This apparently makes her guilty of two counts of child abduction.
Reiser does not attend this days hearing, due to traffic problems.
Prosecutor Greg Dolge reveals that Nina had previously gotten Niorlene and Rory both Russian citizenship, the latter against express orders of the divorce court. Nina, like her mother, Irina Sharanova, ignores court orders that she does not like. Judge Conger deferred her final decision about the trial to a final hearing date, Fri 2007-02-23.
Dolge reveals (per a message from Irina Sharanova) that the children have been kept in Russia against Judge Conger's orders, and may never be returned, as Sharanova has them seeing a therapist who recommends keeping them there.
No one in the U.S. court system, or press, complains about a Russian therapist, over-ruling a United States judge.
Apparently, Rory Reiser's testimony is so damaging to the prosecution, that barring the press and public is not enough. Now, the boy himself, is to be physically kept from testifying.
In Nov. 2007, when the prosecution will have use of the boy, they bring him back from Russia to make a staged court appearance. As soon as the prosecution is finished with the boy, he is spirited back to Russia, so he will be unavailable, if needed for further testimony. The boy is spirited away, just days before he is due to appear in the Juvenile Court. Thus, for a third time, in direct violation of a court ordered appearance, the grandmother will have prevented the boy from testifying. No action is taken.
In court, Nov. 15, 2007, Rory testifies, "My grandmother say that Hans killed her." So, in court, it is revealed that Sharanova has influenced a court witness, her grandson. Again, no action is taken. We are talking, several serious offenses by the boys grandmother, Irina Sharanova, yet not a single charge eventuates.
Imagine, what would have happened, if, before Nina's disappearance, Hans Reiser had abducted his children to Russia and kept them there, preventing them from attending multiple court-ordered appearances.
Thu 2007-01-18: Judge Conger ignores the issue of child abduction and drops the court order for Rory's appearance.
Fri 2007-01-19: DuBois speculates that "Maybe she (Nina) was planning to take the kids to Russia and leave her husband (Hans) here in jail." This may have been the plan, but if she now tries to reunite with her children, they will realize that all have been conned and will most probably grow to hate her. At this point, one way, or another, Nina has most likely lost her children, forever. In court, Nov. 27, 2007, Nina's divorce attorney, Shelley Gordon, testifies that Nina asked her, "whether she could move to Russia with the children."
Wed 2007-01-24: Rory Reiser fails to appear at a family court hearing on Jan. 24. For a second time, Irina Sharanova, keeps the boy from a court appearance, in clear violation of a court order. No action is taken.
Thu 2007-02-22: Court-scheduling conflicts cause a delay to Fri 2007-03-09.
Fri 2007-03-09: Judge Conger comments that she found Oakland PD's theory utterly unconvincing on account of its placements and timings of people not matching what had been established in court, but orders the trial proceed anyway.
She notes, in particular, that Rory's more-recent testimony of record completely contradicts the police case. However, she observes that, even if Hans Reiser isn't responsible for his wife's murder, his "strongly suspicious activities" and "the totality of the circumstances" suggest he may know who killed her. Oh, really?
DuBois, is visibly angered by the judge's decision, calling it "the easy way out." Outside court, he says, "The judge had to push the envelope of speculation in order to reach the decision she did."
Fri 2007-03-23: Hans pleads not guilty to murder. Alameda Superior Court judge C. Don Clay denies bail, and remands Hans back to jail. Initial court date (jury selection) is set for Mon 2007-05-07, at Rene C. Davidson Courthouse, 1225 Fallon Street near 12th/Oak Streets, Oakland, with actual trial estimated to start two weeks later. Hans asserts (declines to waive) his right to a speedy trial, which per California law means trial within 60 days. He also doesn't contest the no-bail decree, to avoid further delays. Deputy District Attorney Paul Hora was assigned as prosecutor.
Mon 2007-04-23: Nina's ex-boyfriend Sean Sturgeon confesses to prior commission of eight unrelated murders (and possibly nine, if that victim didn't survive). His confession, is essentially ignored by all parties, except the press. A red Sturgeon (herring).
Judge Clay orders (via sealed order) attorneys to say nothing more in public about Sturgeon's confession. A later pretrial ruling by the trial judge summarily bans any mention of Sturgeon's confession at Hans' trial. Sturgeon's confession, may be a technical ploy, to keep discussion of this character from the court. Calling him as a character reference, might be fun.
Mon 2007-05-07: Hans appears briefly at a pretrial hearing before judge Clay. When the judge asks Reiser if he would waive time to accommodate the busy schedule of his lawyer, William DuBois, who currently is involved in a murder case in Hayward, Reiser reluctantly says, "I guess so."
The trial is further delayed to Tue 2007-05-29. Another delay of about 3 weeks.
The court system, appears quite happy that Reiser rot in prison.
Tue 2007-05-29: Reschedule to Mon 2007-06-11.
Another delay of about 2 weeks.
Mon 2007-06-11: Judge Larry Goodman is assigned to the trial. Reiser, has claimed his right to a speedy trial. Jury selection must begin within 10 court days. This days hearing, reveals that jail authorities have refused, for reasons never specified, to forward most of Hans Reiser's letters to his children. On Nov. 14, 2007, Reiser's son will complain, in court, that he never received letters back from his dad. No one explains why.
DuBois says Reiser "has tears in his eyes" whenever his children are discussed and is upset that authorities refuse to forward most of his letters to his children. Referring to Goodman, DuBois says, Reiser "likes the judge because he puts him at ease." But, as we already know, Reiser is an extremely poor judge of character.
Tue 2007-06-12: Goodman and DuBois delay the trial by many more months, by convincing Reiser to waive his right to a speedy trial. This is one of many instances where DuBois appears to be working against his client. Jury selection will now start Tue 2007-08-28 after the judge takes his three week vacation.
Another delay by Goodman. Goodman, and perhaps DuBois, seem to be using any excuse to delay the trial.
Goodman delays the trial by a further month, by opting for an elaborate "big spin" jury selection procedure that will pick from three groups of 100 potential jurors each. It is extremely unusual to have such a jury selection, outside of a death penalty case. It is now estimated that the trial will begin, late Sept to early Oct. The "big spin" jury selection, provides prosecutors with an opportunity to select a particularly biased jury (in the name of eliminating bias, of course).
Thu 2007-06-14: A hearing on prosecutor Paul Hora's motion, to impose a gag order barring attorneys from speaking to the news media, is held. Hora wants to stitch-up Reiser with as little interference from the public, as possible. Goodman agrees to a limited gag order, instead of a complete gag order. Apparently, the judge is not interested in the public having too close a look, either.
Sat 2007-08-18: Volunteers from the Contra Costa and Alameda County sheriff's departments, search the hills and valleys in Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve, Roberts Regional Recreation Area, Huckleberry Botanic Regional Preserve and parts of Redwood Regional Park, for signs of Nina Reiser. Nothing is found.
Opening statements are rescheduled from Mon 2007-10-29 to Mon 2007-11-05.
Another delay of a week.
It is revealed that Juvenile Court officials refused repeated requests, by prosecutor Hora, for the file of the custody case involving the Reisers' children, until Tuesday, Dec. 6, after Goodman finally told them to comply. DuBois and Hora, claim the weeks delay is to give attorneys time to assess 400 pages of documents, including around 70 letters between Hans and his children, with comments on the custody case. The press and DuBois, claim the delay is also due to potential prejudicial information in an upcoming national television show about Reiser's case.
Fri 2007-11-02, 4:30 PM: Judge Goodman holds a closed hearing with Reiser and his attorneys, DuBois and Richard Tamor, excluding prosecutor Hora and reporters. Before one of the defense motions was discussed, Reiser complains, "I haven't seen the motion." Apparently, DuBois and Tamor hadn't shown it to him. Reiser is granted a 15-minute delay to read it. There are indications that Reiser is seeking to fire his lawyers.
Fri 2007-11-02: ABC televise their 20/20 program covering the Reiser case.
Mon 2007-11-05: Opening statements are delayed by a day. Judge Goodman, attorneys, and Hans confer. It is speculated that the delay, among other things, is due to Hans insisting on testifying, and is so arguing with DuBois. Statements to the press, like, "we don't know how he will come across because of his intellect," indicate DuBois is trying to prevent Reiser from testifying. Reiser, needs to realize, that DuBois is not on his side.
If Reiser has a clue, then he will certainly testify.
Tue 2007-11-06: First of Hora's three days of opening statements. Says, Nina would never have abandoned her children, ergo must be dead. This totally perverse "logic," is typical of Hora's case. Says, circumstantial evidence will prove Hans killed her out of rage over the child-custody verdict. But on that fateful day, overcome with rage, Hans, ever the gentleman, offers Nina a last meal of macaroni and (Parmesan) cheese, which he cooks for her and the children.
Wed 2007-11-07: Hora continues opening statements and mentions that Rory Reiser will indeed testify. Says that Hans, having once worked as a carpenter, might have killed Nina by bludgeoned her to death with a hammer. It's fast, it's quiet and it's deadly, he says. (Well, not really. But he claims something just as preposterous.) He claims Hans has coached some of Rory's testimony, and that Rory's forthcoming testimony will reveal his having heard some strange noises the night of Nina's disappearance and observed odd behaviour from his father, including carrying something large to the basement.
The "strange noises" bit, never eventuates and the "carrying something large (supposedly Nina) to the basement" bit, as DuBois has pointed out, is ridiculous. The children were sleeping in Hans room in the "basement," the road exit and cars were on the first level, so why would Hans carry Nina's body away from transportation and to his children?
Thu 2007-11-08: Prosecutor Paul Hora concludes his opening statement in the traditional fashion, by recapping the prosecution's planned circumstantial case, which (absent a body or murder weapon) rests on some peculiar activity of Hans' after Nina's disappearance, his alleged murder motive in his outrage over the 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 by faking her own death.
Hora also plays a 10-minute recording of a telephone conversation (see above), a few weeks after Nina's disappearance, between Hans and his mother, in which Hans complains 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 wiretapping.
Sun 2007-11-11: Rory Reiser, his grandmother, Irina Sharanova and an unnamed "social worker" arrive from Russia.
Mon 2007-11-12: Around this date, Rory gives another taped interview to "authorities."
Tue 2007-11-13 to Thu 2007-11-15: Rory Reiser gives testimony.
The prosecution, via Irina Sharanova, has been keeping Rory Reiser in Russia, to stop him telling anymore about what happened the day Nina disappeared. This trial, would look too much like the stitch up it is, if Rory does not testify. Hence, they have the various Russian "social agencies" working with the boy, look for ways to discredit his testimony. They decide to run with the "Nina in the bag" story. A story that is clearly false and will have jurors doubting the boys credibility. The prosecution returns him from Russia for a staged court appearance. So that he will not be available for further testimony, they fly him back to Russia immediately after the performance.
Rory has a Russian "social worker" sitting beside him as he gives his testimony.
Throughout his previous testimony, Rory called his mother Nina and his father Hans. In his latest testimony, Rory still calls his mother Nina, but now he calls his father Papa. This is due to the coaching the lad received while in Russia. In Russia, children do not call their parents by their first names.
The prosecutor shows a picture that Rory drew of a stick figure holding a ball. Rory says the stick figure is Hans and the ball is a bag he believes contains Nina curled up in a ball. Rory testifies he was with three Russian "social workers" when he drew the picture of his father with the bag. When he was done, he testifies that they said, "Good."
The prosecution chooses to present Rory's story and picture, as it undermines the boys credibility. The children were sleeping in Hans room in the "basement," the road exit and cars were on the first level, so why would Hans carry Nina's body away from transportation and to where his children were sleeping? There are also easily spotted physical problems associated with having a dead Nina folded into a ball. Thus, the story is quickly seen to be false and the boys credibility undermined.
The fact that the boy doesn't even "remember" this "event," till many months after Nina's disappearance, somehow, doesn't disqualify it as "evidence."
In case any of the jurors still believe the boys previous testimony, the prosecution keep creating contradictions, where there are none.
Rory testifies he could not recall what happened after his mother announced she was leaving.
"Do you remember what happened (when your mom left)?" prosecutor Hora asks.
"I don't remember (what mom did)," the boy replied.
"What's the next thing you remember happening?" Hora asks.
"Nothing (about mom)," the boy answers.
Previously Rory has claimed that Nina had given him a hug and said goodbye. He had then gone downstairs (with his sister and Hans) to play computer games and she had left. The current testimony does not contradict this.
Hora asks: "Usually, if your mom dropped you off at Hans' house, you would give her a hug and say goodbye?"
"Yes," the boy replies.
"On the day you last saw your mom at Hans' house, what happened?"
"The same," the boy answers.
No matter how many times the boy says essentially the same thing, he is accused of making contradictory claims.
"When you came to court last year and were asked questions and gave answers ,... did you tell the truth?"
Pause. "Do you remember what you said?"
"Do you remember what you said in court that was different or the same?" Hora asks.
No matter how many times the boy says essentially the same thing, he is accused of making contradictory claims.
"You remember you saw your mom go up into the street?" DuBois asks.
Prosecutor Hora: "Do you remember whether your mom even left after she gave you a hug?"
The boy: "No." Pause. "She left."
"How do you know?"
"What can she do?" the boy answers.
"What do you mean by that?"
"No one stays in a house if they say goodbye," the boy says.
"Do you remember your mom saying goodbye?
"So you think if she said goodbye, she must have left?"
No matter how many times the boy says essentially the same thing, he is accused of making contradictory claims.
The boy also says his Russian grandmother showed him stories about his father's case on the internet, and that she had asked him not to tell anybody that they were discussing his father. When asked, "Your grandma showed you things on the internet and showed you things that (said what) Hans did was bad?" Rory answers, "Yes."
The boy testifies he stopped loving his father after he moved in with his grandparents. When asked whether his grandmother, Irina Sharanova, said his father killed his mother. Rory answered,...
"My grandmother say that Hans killed her."
Rory says he hasn't seen his mother for more than a year, hasn't talked on the phone with her or got any letters from her.
Jurors spend much of these 3 days listening to tapes of the boy being interviewed by police, mental health workers and the DA.
Thu 2007-11-15: After the jury leaves, Reiser obtains permission to talk directly to the judge. He states that he has some questions to ask Rory. He also voices some questions about child protective services in the United States and Russia, expressing particular concern, that his son might be improperly spirited back to Russia, now that his testimony is over. Which provokes this reply,...
"I've put up with your paranoia just about enough," adding that his court is not part of any elaborate conspiracies with the family court. "You're not just trying your attorney's patience, you're also starting to try my patience as well."
"Can I appoint myself co-counsel?" Reiser asks. "No, you cannot appoint yourself co-counsel," Goodman replies. He continues, "You can have whatever paranoid delusions you want." But the court won't have any of that, he says, describing himself as simply a "lowly trial judge doing a criminal trial," with no jurisdiction over the juvenile court system or any international issues with regard to the boy.
Reiser is right. The judge is being disingenuous.
Fri 2007-11-16: Irina Sharanova, who does not have legal custody of the children, abducts them to Russia, so that Rory will be unavailable for further testimony.
Thu 2007-12-04: Reiser asks the judge if he can attend the Juvenile Court hearing (due to start this day) concerning custody of his children. "The bottom line is, Mr. Reiser, you're not going to the hearing," Goodman said.
Rory Reiser fails to appear in Juvenile Court. For a third time, Irina Sharanova, prevents the boy from testifying. Each time, in clear violation of a court ordered appearance. Juvenile Court Judge Stephen Pulido is reportedly unhappy that the boy fails to appear in his court, but again, no action is taken.
One wonders what would have happened, if, before Nina's disappearance, Hans Reiser had abducted his children to Russia and kept them there, preventing them from attending multiple court-ordered appearances.
Wed 2007-12-12: DuBois tells Doren, that Rory said, he saw his mom leave and drive away after Nina dropped him off. The judge nearly finds DuBois in contempt. As noted above, the boy has never claimed that his mother drove away. Knowing full well, that it is false, DuBois adopts this media fabrication, contrary to his client's interest. But then, in reality, DuBois is not on Reiser's side.
Some details about the trial:
René C. Davidson Alameda County Courthouse
1225 Fallon St., Oakland, CA, 94612
Case Type: Criminal
Case Number: 154825
Name: Reiser, Hans Thomas
Department Number: 009
This is a link to a street map of the area with various spots of interest marked:
6979 Exeter Drive: Home of Hans Reiser and his mother, Beverly Palmer.
Capricorn Avenue: Home of Ellen Doren.
Fernwood Drive: Nina's Honda Odyssey minivan is found here.
Snake Rd: Police initially claim Hans Reiser runs up this road.
Shepherd Canyon Road: Police later claim Hans Reiser runs up this road.
2425 Monterey Blvd: Hans Reiser parks his car here Sept. 18, 2006.
2477 Monterey Blvd: Montclair Golf Course.
4770 Lincoln Ave: Mormon Temple.
Placement of locations is given by maps.yahoo.com.