Hans Reiser said he had many reasons
to be upset at Nina

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Published on March 06, 2008 with No Comments

By Jeff Shuttleworth

March 6, 2007

Computer engineer and murder defendant Hans Reiser told jurors yesterday he had a long list of reasons to be upset at his estranged wife Nina, who was last seen alive when she dropped off the couple’s children at his house Sept. 3, 2006.

Reiser, 44, said Nina had a lengthy affair with his best friend, alleged that she stole at least $150,000 from his file system business and said she falsely claimed he caused their son to suffer from a psychological disorder by playing violent video games with him.

Reiser, who furrowed his brow during much of his testimony today but occasionally laughed and joked with his attorney, William DuBois, said Nina, who was 31 when she disappeared, kicked him out of their house at 3422 Jordan Road in Oakland on May 15, 2004, which was their fifth wedding anniversary.

Reiser also said he thinks there was a connection with the financial problems he was having and Nina’s decision to kick him out of the house and then file for divorce several months later, in August of 2004.

He said, “If she wanted to leave me when I didn’t have any money, it was best to go through the divorce now before I had money again.”

In addition, Reiser said he was upset because “she kicked my butt in the legal system” during their divorce proceedings and was “not sincere” in her statements and filings in court.

Although Reiser has been on the witness stand for two full days, he hasn’t expressed any concern about Nina’s disappearance and has only spent a few minutes discussing the time period when she was last seen alive.

At the end of the day yesterday, DuBois, who has questioned Reiser at length about his life in the 80s, the 90s and the years between 2000 and 2004, told Alameda County Superior Court Judge Larry Goodman that “we’re rapidly approaching” a discussion of the events of September 3, 2006.

Reiser is expected to return to the witness stand today, although his testimony might be interrupted for part of the day so that a DNA expert for the defense can testify.

Nina Reiser was awarded legal custody of the children but Hans was allowed to have them stay at his house several days a week. Their divorce never was finalized.

The body of Nina Reiser, who was born and trained as a physician in Russia, has never been found, despite extensive searches in the Oakland hills and elsewhere. But in October of 2006 Hans Reiser was charged with murdering her because prosecutors believe that DNA and blood evidence proves that he killed her.

He has pleaded not guilty to the charges against him.

DuBois has said that he thinks Nina Reiser may still be alive and in hiding somewhere, possibly in Russia.

The couple’s children, Rory and Nio, are currently living in St. Petersburg, Russia, with Nina’s mother, Irina Sharanova.

Reiser said Nina told him in early 2002 that she was having an affair with Sean Sturgeon, an Oakland man who was his best friend at the time.

He said he was in Russia on business for his company during most of that time period and Nina and their children were in Oakland much of the time, although they came to Russia periodically to stay with Nina’s mother.

Reiser said of Nina, “I think she wanted me to be really upset” about the affair.

But he said, “I was not as upset as she wanted me to be and she said the affair would be over.”

However, Reiser said his relationship with Nina continued to go downhill.

He said one indication was that when Nina came to Russia, she stayed with her mother in St. Petersburg instead of staying with him at their apartment in Moscow, which was more than 400 miles away.

Reiser said, “Nina decided she didn’t want to live with me in Russia and she would stay at her mother’s place, not with me.”

Reiser said when they eventually returned to Oakland, another sign that indicated Nina wanted to get rid of him is she bought a cat even though she knew that he was allergic to cats.

However, Reiser said he learned to like the cat and “she (Nina) didn’t appreciate it when the cat slept with me on the couch.”

Reiser laughed when DuBois suggested that Nina suffered from “cat envy.”

Reiser said, “I liked the cat – it had a wonderful personality.”

Yesterday’s session ended on an odd note when Reiser said he thinks Anthony Zografos, an Oakland man who dated Nina for about eight months before she disappeared, was a positive influence on her because “he wasn’t into cannibalism.”

Prosecutor Paul Hora objected to Reiser’s remark, saying it was irrelevant, and Judge Goodman adjourned court for the day.

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