General Crime

* Hans Reiser Murder Trial Jury Deliberations Begin

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Convicted wife killer Hans Reiser told jurors in his civil wrongful death trial today that he would like to have a chance to teach his  children important lessons about life. In his closing argument, Reiser, who is acting as his own  attorney, told the jury that his 12-year-old son Rory and 11-year-old  daughter Niorline “need someone who believes in them and their success.”   Reiser, 48, a computer engineer who owned a software company, said  of himself and his children, “If we were a team, we could build a business.”

“There are things I’d like to pass on to my kids that could be  worth money,” he added.  Reiser is serving a term of 15 years to life in state prison for  killing his wife, 31-year-old Nina Reiser, on Sept. 3, 2006. His children have been living in Russia, where Nina was born and  raised, with their grandmother since December 2006. The children’s attorney, Arturo Gonzalez, is asking jurors to  award $10 million in damages to each child, plus an additional $5 million in punitive damages.  Gonzalez said he agrees with Reiser that his children need  compassion and caring. However, Gonzalez said, “they had it, but Mr. Reiser  took it away” by killing their mother.

Gonzalez said it’s not clear whether Reiser has any assets now,  but that he wants jurors to award damages to Reiser’s children because he  thinks Reiser might be able to come up with valuable ideas while in prison  because of his background in the computer industry.   Reiser said again this morning that the reason he killed his wife  was to prevent her from harming their children. He has admitted that there  was no physical abuse but said she was harming them in other ways.  He said in the trial that Nina convinced a number of health  professionals to invent illnesses in the children that could be blamed on him  so she could have custody of them after she filed for divorce in 2004.  Jurors began their deliberations at about 11 a.m. today.

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