|Hans Thomas Reiser|
Hans Reiser mug shot
December 19, 1963 |
|Conviction(s)||First degree murder by jury, reduced to second degree murder by judge in plea deal|
|Penalty||15 years to life imprisonment|
|Spouse||Nina Reiser (m. 1998–2006)|
Hans Thomas Reiser (born December 19, 1963) is an American computer programmer, entrepreneur, and convicted murderer. He is the creator and primary developer of the ReiserFS computer file system, which is contained within the Linux kernel, as well as its attempted successor, Reiser4. In 2004, he founded Namesys, a corporation meant to coordinate the development of both file systems. In April 2008, Reiser was convicted of the first degree murder of his wife, Nina Reiser, who disappeared in September 2006. He subsequently pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of second-degree murder, as part of a settlement agreement that included disclosing the location of his wife's body, revealed to be in a shallow grave near the couple's home.
Childhood, education, and career 
Hans Reiser was born and raised in Oakland, California to Ramon Reiser and Beverly Palmer. He dropped out of junior high school when he was 13 because of his disdain for what he considered an overly rigid, conventional schooling system, and for constantly being ridiculed and bullied by his peers. At the age of 15, he was accepted at the University of California, Berkeley, where he was one of the founding members of the Open Computing Facility. Reiser attended the university off and on until he received a BA in computer-science in 1992 at the age of 28. Although Reiser preferred higher education, he did not pursue a Ph.D. due to his same educational reasons for dropping out of junior high school.  He worked part- to full-time in the computer field while founding the California-based software company Namesys Inc. Before Namesys, Reiser was employed at Synopsys, IBM Research, Premenos Corp., and Accurate Information Systems.
Namesys and ReiserFS 
Reiser and his company Namesys developed the journaled computer file systems ReiserFS and Reiser4. ReiserFS has been available in the Linux operating system since version 2.4.1 and has at times been the default filesystem on several Linux distributions including, until 2006, Novell's SUSE Linux Enterprise.
Following Reiser's 2006 arrest on suspicion of murder, people in the free software community expressed concern over the future of Reiser's filesystem (Reiser4). Jonathan Corbet, editor of LWN.net, argued that the immaturity of Reiser4's feature set and Reiser's extensive combative relationship with the community meant the filesystem's future had been limited in any event.
Shortly after Reiser's arrest, the employees of Namesys stated they would continue to work, that the arrest had no immediate effect on the rate of the software's development, and if the case expanded over a longer time, they would seek solutions to ensure the long-term future of the company. On December 21, 2006, Reiser announced that he was selling the company to raise money for his increasing legal fees. According to an interview with Namesys employee Edward Shishkin, as of January 2008, the commercial activity of the company ceased but it had not been sold.
Marriage to Nina Sharanova 
In 1998, while working in Saint Petersburg, Russia, Hans Reiser reportedly selected from a mail-order bride catalogue, and subsequently married, Nina Sharanova (Russian: Нина Шаранова), a Russian-born and trained obstetrician and gynecologist, who was studying to become an American licensed OB/GYN. Reiser has stated that he met Nina when he went to a date set up by a Russian dating service; Nina had come along to translate for his date. They had two children. The Reisers separated in May 2004. Nina Reiser filed for divorce three months later, citing irreconcilable differences and saying that their children "hardly know their father" because he was out of the country on business for most of the year, according to court records, and was granted sole legal custody of the children and shared physical custody of them with her husband. The divorce was never finalized. Nina Reiser obtained a temporary restraining order against Hans in December 2004 after he pushed her, at the height of the divorce proceedings. She dropped the temporary restraining order in late 2005 because the heat of the divorce had chilled over time. In exchange, Reiser agreed to be bound by a one year civil restraining order which prohibited him from "contacting, harassing or disturbing the peace" of Nina Reiser at her home or place of work and ordered him to stay at least 100 yards (91 m) away from her. In May, Nina Reiser alleged in court filings that her husband had failed to pay 50 percent medical expenses and childcare expenses as ordered by a judge and was in arrears for more than $12,000.
Nina Reiser's disappearance 
Nina Reiser was reported missing on September 5, 2006. She had last been seen on 3 September, when she dropped the couple's two children off with Hans, at his mother's house where he was living at the time. She also failed to meet her best friend at her house later that evening.
Nina Reiser's 2001 Honda Odyssey minivan, with groceries inside, was found on 9 September on Fernwood Drive in Oakland's Montclair district, just east of the SR 13 Warren Freeway. It was reported by police that neighbors first spotted the parked minivan on 5 September, the day she was supposed to pick up her children at school.
Hans Reiser's neighbors said that they saw him spraying water off something in the driveway for half an hour shortly after Nina went missing and said that his car — a 1988 Honda CRX Si hatchback — disappeared shortly after, and his mother rented a car so Hans could drive hers. Police brought cadaver dogs in to search his property, but no human remains were found.
Following Nina Reiser's disappearance, which resulted in the removal of the Reiser children from the Reiser family, Hans Reiser attempted to obtain custody but was unsuccessful. Oakland police testified against Hans Reiser at the custody hearing, though they did not reveal the evidence on which they based their concerns.
Murder investigation 
In September 2006, Oakland police briefly detained Hans Reiser, served him with a search warrant on his person, and obtained a DNA sample. On October 10, 2006, following the second search of his home, Oakland police and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) investigators removed a number of items. HSI had been investigating Reiser for money laundering. Police announced that they were now treating the disappearance as a homicide case, and Reiser was arrested for the murder of Nina Reiser and subsequently charged.
On October 11, 2006, law enforcement officials said that blood spatter had been found in Hans Reiser's house and car. Forensic testing (including DNA analysis) could neither confirm nor rule out Nina Reiser as the source of the blood. Officials had not located the missing passenger seat of his car. They also indicated that they had found in the car two books on homicide investigation purchased by Reiser on September 8 — five days after his wife's disappearance: Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets, by David Simon, and Masterpieces of Murder, by Jonathan Goodman. Daniel Horowitz, a high-profile defense attorney, joined the defense team but dropped the case on November 28, citing Reiser's inability to pay for his services. Namesys's employees state that Reiser felt the police would suspect him from the start. Reiser was arraigned on Thursday, October 12, where he delayed entering a plea until his next court appearance on November 28. He was held without bail. On November 28, Reiser entered a not guilty plea and invoked his right to a speedy trial, forcing the state to schedule a preliminary hearing for December 11.
On December 2, at the request of the Oakland police, search and rescue teams combed an area less than three miles (5 km) from Hans Reiser's house, but no new major findings were immediately announced.
Trial and conviction 
Preliminary hearing 
Forensic evidence 
The preliminary hearing opened on December 11, 2006, with Reiser being represented by attorney William Du Bois. At the hearing, a forensic technician testified that blood matching Nina Reiser's DNA had been found on a bag in Hans Reiser's car, and on a pillar in his mother's (Beverly Palmer's) house, where he had been living since the separation. It later emerged that a mistake had been made when the police analysed the blood on the pillar, rendering the evidence inconclusive. Police also testified that they had found a 40-piece socket set which may have been used to remove the passenger seat, a receipt for the purchase of the socket set from Kragen Auto Parts, four seat bolts, and a ratchet wrench with a socket on it, suggesting that the seat may have been removed recently. A traffic officer who had pulled Reiser over nine days after Reiser's wife went missing testified later in the trial that the passenger seat had been present at the time, and that he had not seen any blood.
Police surveillance testimony 
During the third day of the preliminary hearing, on December 16, 2006, Officer Gino Guerrero stated that Reiser had engaged in a lengthy cat-and-mouse game with surveillance officers who were trailing him on the evening of September 18, 2006. When Reiser left family court in Oakland in the afternoon of September 18, he was trailed by police officers using both cars and an airplane. According to a probable cause statement, Reiser and a male friend "appeared to be conducting counter surveillance" to avoid police by driving at varying speeds, turning down small residential streets and making abrupt stops.
Reiser and his friend eventually dined at Fonda restaurant in Albany and afterwards the friend dropped Reiser at the corner of San Pablo and Ashby avenues in Berkeley. Guerrero said that Reiser walked around the area furtively, stopping occasionally to look in all directions, and eventually got into a 1988 Honda CRX which was parked on Acton Street near Carleton Street. Guerrero said police then followed Reiser as he drove the car to 2425 Monterey Road in Oakland, less than three miles (5 km) away from where Reiser was living with his mother.
Reiser's mother, Beverly Palmer, testified that she had been out of town the weekend Nina Reiser disappeared and was surprised to learn that her son was driving her car, a 2003 Honda Hybrid, and that his Honda CRX was not at the house. Palmer said that when she asked her son where the CRX was, he said it was not working and "he'd take care of it and I should never mind".
Reiser's son fails to testify 
On January 17, 2007, the Reisers' seven-year-old son, Rory, was scheduled to testify, but failed to appear. Judge Julie Conger asked that their son return to court and clarify his testimony, but he never did because his maternal grandmother failed to bring the children back from Russia as promised. She had since begun Russian court custody proceedings.
It was originally thought that Reiser's son would not return to testify in his father's trial; however, in a surprising move by Alameda County District Attorney Paul Hora, Rory Reiser arrived from Russia to testify before Judge Larry Goodman. Prosecutor Greg Dolge stated that he spoke to the grandmother and that Reiser's son was under the care of a therapist in Russia who wanted him to stay in Russia for further treatment. It was also revealed that Nina Reiser had obtained Russian citizenship for her children – two years previously in the case of her daughter, and two months before for her son.
Closing arguments 
Initially, Judge Julie Conger said that on February 23, she would hold closing arguments and rule on whether there was enough evidence to order Hans Reiser to stand trial. On February 22, 2007, the closing arguments were postponed until March 9 as Reiser's attorney was involved with an unrelated trial that was running longer than expected.
Reiser pleads not guilty 
On March 23, 2007, Reiser pled not guilty before Judge C. Don Clay.
On June 11, Reiser's trial was assigned to Alameda County Superior Court Judge Larry Goodman, who had presided over a number of murder and death penalty cases.
Hearings on pretrial motions 
On July 23, 2007, hearings on pretrial motions began. Potential jurors were to be brought to court on August 29, 30, and September 4, to fill out questionnaires, but face-to-face questioning of prospective jurors were not planned to begin until 19 September 2007. Opening statements were expected to begin on October 29, 2007; however, they were postponed, and rescheduled for November 5, 2007. The defense stated that the delay was due to possible prejudicial information in a television segment about the case to be aired on November 2. The prosecutor stated the delay was necessary as more time was needed for additional pretrial motions.
Trial and verdict 
Hans Reiser's murder trial began on 6 November 2007 with opening statements from prosecutor Paul Hora. Reiser vigorously denied responsibility for the murder throughout the trial. When Reiser testified in his own defense, his implausible claims and erratic behavior in the courtroom largely undermined his claim of innocence. After three days of trial, the prosecutor concluded his opening statements urging jurors to convict Hans Reiser for murdering his wife. In his closing argument, Reiser's attorney, William Du Bois, urged the jury to consider a sentence of voluntary manslaughter if they believed that Nina was dead and that Hans Reiser killed her in a moment of passion.
Recovery of Nina's body and sentencing 
Prosecutors agreed to a deal whereby Reiser would reveal the location of his wife's body in exchange for pleading guilty to second-degree murder. The deal was made with the agreement of Nina's family, but it was subject to final approval by Judge Goodman. On Monday, July 7, 2008, Reiser led police to Nina's shallow grave in the Oakland Hills. Reiser's attorney, William Du Bois, who was handcuffed to Reiser and accompanied by a heavy police guard to the site, said that the remains were found buried on the side of a hill between Redwood Regional Park and the Huckleberry Botanic Regional Preserve, less than half a mile from the home on Exeter Drive where Reiser lived with his mother, and where Nina Reiser was last seen alive on September 3, 2006. Oakland homicide detective Lt. Ersie Joyner recalled that Reiser led them directly to the exact site, without any hesitation or confusion. On July 8, the coroner positively identified the skeletal remains as those of Nina Reiser.
Time in prison 
On September 5, 2008, Hans Reiser arrived at San Quentin State Prison to begin serving his sentence. Reiser tried to appeal his second-degree murder conviction on October 30, 2008. The request was denied by Judge Larry Goodman on November 13, 2008. On January 10, 2009, it was reported that Reiser was recovering after having been beaten by several prisoners. On January 28, 2009, he was transferred to Mule Creek State Prison. In February 2011, he was transferred to Pleasant Valley State Prison.
In the media 
See also 
- Byfield, Bruce (2006-10-12). "Reiser filesystem development to continue". Linux.com. Retrieved 2006-10-23.
- Harris, Harry; Dearen, Jason (October 11, 2006). "Missing woman's blood found in husband's house". San Jose Mercury News. Archived from the original on 2007-01-27. Retrieved 2006-10-11.
- Lee, Henry K. (10 October 2006). "Husband of missing Oakland mom arrested on suspicion of murder". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2008-06-06.
- Andrews, Jeremy (2005-09-13). "Interview: Hans Reiser". KernelTrap.org. Retrieved 2006-10-10.
- Corbet, Jonathan (2008-04-30). "On the conviction of Hans Reiser". LWN.net. Retrieved 2008-05-10.
- "Alexander Lyamin Re: The Future of ReiserFS development". Namesys Inc. 2006-10-11. Retrieved 2007-03-14.
- Davis, Joshua (2006-12-21). "Murder Suspect Selling Namesys". Wired News. Retrieved 2006-12-30.
- Shankland, Stephen (January 16, 2008). "Namesys vanishes, but Reiser project lives on". CNet. Retrieved 2008-01-26.
- Kravets, David (April 16, 2008). "Reiser Defense Blasts Prosecution; Geek Defense Re-Deployed". Wired. Retrieved July 8, 2008.
- "About Nina". Web.archive.org. 2007-09-22. Retrieved 2011-12-12.
- Lee, Henry K. (October 11, 2006). "Nina Reiser's boyfriend has 'glimmer of hope'". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2007-06-30.
- Lee, Henry K.; Zamora, Jim Herron (September 14, 2006). "Man's home searched — wife is missing". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2006-10-10.
- "Attorney Says Husband Of Missing Oakland Woman Distrustful Of Police". KTVU. September 19, 2006. Retrieved 2007-06-30.
- Shuttleworth, Jeff (September 13, 2006). "Authorities Search Home of Missing Woman's Husband". CBS Corporation, on CBS 5.
- Lee, Henry K. (January 17, 2008). "Hans Reiser Trial". San Francisco Chronicle.
- Wang, Lee (September 14, 2006). "Woman Missing; Husband's Home Searched". KGO-TV.
- "Investigators Take DNA Sample From Hans Reiser". CBS Corporation, on CBS 5. September 29, 2006.
- Dearen, Jason (October 6, 2006). "Oakland police briefly detain missing hills woman's husband". Contra Costa Times.
- Leff, Lisa (October 10, 2006). "Oakland police arrest missing woman's estranged husband". San Francisco Chronicle. Archived from the original on 2006-11-05. Retrieved 2006-10-10.
- "Police: 'All Avenues Led Back To Mr. Reiser'". NBC11. October 10, 2006. Retrieved 2006-10-10.
- "Police Charge Hans Reiser With Murder". CBS Corporation, on CBS 5. October 10, 2006.
- Kravets, David (2008-03-06). "Hans Reiser Briefly Weeps; Explains Murder Books and Says Nina Dated KGB". Wired. Retrieved 2008-07-09.
- Lee, Henry K. (November 28, 2006). "Reiser pleads not guilty to killing estranged wife". San Francisco Chronicle.
- Lee, Henry K. (October 12, 2006). "Blood evidence revealed in Reiser case". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2006-11-23.
- "wooded area". Google.com. 1970-01-01. Retrieved 2010-02-08.
- "County combs new location in Reiser hunt". Inside Bay Area. December 2, 2006.
- Kravets, David (January 23, 2008). "Reiser Prosecution Wobbles Under Police Forensics Gaffe". Wired.
- Jason Dearen (November 28, 2006). "Reiser wants speedy trial". Oakland Tribune. Retrieved 2007-02-20.
- Lee, Henry K. (2006-12-21). "DNA match of bloodstains in case of missing wife". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2006-12-21.
- Kravets, David (December 18, 2007). "Traffic Officer Says He Saw No Blood on Reiser's Car Seat". Wired.
- "Officer: Murder defendant hid car after wife's disappearance". East Bay Daily News. December 14, 2006. Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2007-06-30.
- "Judge Says Hans Reiser Can Stand Trial For Murder". KTVU.com. March 9, 2007. Retrieved 2007-03-09.
- Lee, Henry K. (January 19, 2007). "Judge lifts request for boy to testify in alleged killing". San Francisco Chronicle. p. B-3. Retrieved 2007-03-10.
- "Reiser hearing postponed until March". CBS Corporation, at Bay City News. 2007-02-22.
- "Judge rules trial of U.S. man in wife's death can proceed even though body is missing". International Herald Tribune. March 9, 2007. Retrieved 2007-03-10.
- Lee, Henry K. (March 23, 2007). "Reiser pleads not guilty in wife's slaying.". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2007-03-23.
- "Hans Reiser Trial Assigned to Experienced Judge". ABC7. Associated Press. June 11, 2007. Retrieved 2011-06-04.
- "Judge Denies Motion To Dismiss Charges Against Hans Reiser". KTVU. July 23, 2007.
- Lee, Henry K. (September 20, 2007). "Prospective jurors screened on missing body issue in Oakland case". sfchronicle.com. p. B-3. Retrieved 2007-09-22.
- "Reiser trial delayed; attorneys debate TV show impact". insidebayarea.com/oaklandtribune. October 24, 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-29.
- Kravets, David (November 6, 2007). "Rift Brewing Between Linux Engineer Reiser, His Attorney as First Day of Murder Trial Ends". Wired, ThreatLevel Blog. Retrieved 2007-11-07.
- Paul, Ryan (2008-07-08). "ReiserFS fading into obscurity as maker leads cops to corpse". Arstechnica.com. Retrieved 2010-02-08.
- Kravets, David (November 8, 2007). "Reiser is a 'Killer', Prosecutor Proclaims; Judge Denies Mistrial in Day 3 of Linux Engineer's Murder Trial". Wired, ThreatLevel Blog. Retrieved 2007-11-11.
- Kravets, David (April 21, 2008). "Attorney Declares Reiser Innocent, a 'Real Genuine Nerd'". Wired News. Retrieved 2008-04-22.
- Lee, Henry K. (July 9, 2008). "Reiser deal ultimately hinges on judge's OK.". San Francisco Chronicle. p. A-1. Retrieved 2011-06-04.
- Lee, Henry K.; Jaxon Van Derbeken, Chronicle Staff Writers (2008-07-07). "Wife-killer leads cops to body in deal with D.A.". SFGate. p. A-1. Retrieved 2008-07-08.
- Lee, Henry K. (2008-08-29). "Reiser confesses to strangling estranged wife". SFGate. p. B-1. Retrieved 2011-06-04.
- Lee, Henry K. (2008-11-19). "Hans Reiser Case: November 19, 2008". SFGate. Retrieved 2008-11-19.
- Kravets, David (2008-11-19). "Linux Guru Reiser Seeks New Murder Trial". Wired Blog Network. Retrieved 2008-11-19.
- "San Quentin Prisoner Beaten". KCBS. 2009-01-10. Archived from the original on 2009-06-09.
- Reiser, Hans (2009-06-11). "Miscellaneous Received". Alameda County Superior Court. Retrieved 2009-06-17.
- "EXCLUSIVE: Years After Trial, Reiser Talks Life In Prison". KTVU San Francisco. 2010-05-02. Retrieved 2011-06-04.[dead link]
- "Change of address". Alameda Courts.
- Kravets, David (September 29, 2011). "Linux Guru Hans Reiser Demands New Murder Trial". Wired.
- Reiser v. Du Bois et al, no. 11-CV-04735, N.D. California (filed September 27, 2011), retrieved from PACER July 19, 2012
- Fernandez Lisa; Chuang, Stephanie (July 17, 2012). "Software guru ordered to pay $60 million to his kids over wife's death". MSNBC. Retrieved July 19, 2012.
- "Final Witness - What The Boy Saw". ABC.com. August 7, 2012. Retrieved August 8, 2012.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Hans Reiser|
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Hans Reiser|
|Wikinews has related news: Wikinews Shorts: April 28, 2008#Programmer Hans Reiser Convicted Of Murdering Wife|
- Hans Reiser's resume
- The Reiser4 Filesystem: Ways In Which Extra Rigor In Scientific Methodology Can Consume Years Of Your Life, And How The Result Can Be So Very Worthwhile — lecture given by Hans Reiser at Stanford University (video archive)
- Hans Reiser: The Reiser4 Filesystem — Hans Reiser's lecture at Google
- Current filings - for the civil wrongful death lawsuit in the Alameda county courts