Cleaning supplies found in Reiser's car
By Jeff Shuttleworth
January 23, 2008
Cleaning supplies, wrenches, a sleeping bag and books on crime
were among the many items found in murder suspect Hans Reiser's
car when Oakland police recovered it several weeks after his wife
Nina disappeared, a criminal evidence expert said Tuesday.
Testifying as an expert witness in Reiser's trial on charges
that he murdered his estranged wife, whose body has never been
found, criminalist Shannon Cavness said she examined his 1988
Honda Civic CRX on Sept. 26, 2006, a week after police recovered
it on Monterey Boulevard in Oakland.
That location is several miles away from the home at 6979 Exeter
Drive in the Oakland hills where Reiser lived with his mother
and where Nina Reiser was last seen on Sept. 3, 2006, when she
dropped off the couple's two children.
The couple had been separated for more than two years and was
in the midst of acrimonious divorce proceedings when she disappeared.
Cavness said one of the things she noticed is that the right
front passenger seat of Reiser's car was missing.
Prosecutor Paul Hora suggested to jurors in his opening statement
that Reiser might have removed the passenger seat so that he would
have room to carry Nina's body to a spot where it could be disposed.
Cavness said another thing she noticed is that there was a bumper
sticker on the back of Reiser's car which said, "Practice
random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty."
Cavness is expected to spend two days on the witness stand in
Jurors haven't yet heard any DNA evidence in the case, but when
Cavness testified at Reiser's preliminary hearing on Dec. 20,
2006, she said blood found on a pillar in the entryway of the
home on Exeter Drive belonged to both Hans and Nina Reiser.
At the preliminary hearing, Cavness, a DNA expert, said there
is a less than 1 in 45 trillion chance that the female blood sample
on the pillar at the Exeter Drive home is from someone other than
Cavness said there is a less than 1 in 208 chance that the male
sample was from someone other than Hans Reiser.
She said the reason for the large difference in odds is that
the female sample was much bigger than the male sample.
But under cross-examination from Hans Reiser's attorney, William
DuBois, Cavness admitted that DNA testing can't reveal the time
and age of blood samples, so it's impossible to know when the
blood got on the pillar.
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