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6/9/2008
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Computer Engineer Hans Reiser Could Disclose Location Of Wife's Body

The convicted murderer could face 25 years to life in prison, but he is trying to negotiate a reduced sentence or the possibility of early parole by working with investigators.

Computer engineer Hans Reiser may lead investigators to the body of his wife, who disappeared in September 2006.

A jury convicted Reiser on first-degree murder charges in April. Reiser could face 25 years to life in prison, but he is trying to negotiate a reduced sentence in exchange for telling authorities where to find the body, according to a report in Wired.

Thirty-one-year-old Nina Reiser was last seen dropping off the couple's two children at Hans Reiser's home in Oakland, Calif. Police found her vehicle abandoned with groceries, her pocketbook, and her cell phone inside. The cell phone's battery had been removed, preventing investigators from tracing her whereabouts from cell phone tower signals. Hans Reiser's own cell phone battery had been removed as well.

Reiser removed a front seat from the Honda CRX he had driven and hosed down the interior of the car, which contained books on murder and a sleeping bag cover with Nina Reiser's blood. Reiser and more than 35 other witnesses took the stand during the trial, which lasted nearly six months. Many of the witnesses testified about Hans Reiser's unusual statements and behavior before and after his wife disappeared.

Reiser's lawyer tried to convince the jury that the mother of two may have fled to Russia and hid or that she may have been the victim of foul play at someone else's hands. However, there was no evidence to support those claims.

During the trial, a jail inmate testified that Hans Reiser rushed toward a television to hear a news report about a body that was found in Oakland Hills. The inmate, who said he received no offers for special treatment, testified that Reiser waited through commercial breaks and other reports and seemed to lose interest when he learned the body was a black man.

Jurors deliberated for three days before agreeing that Reiser murdered his wife and had planned to do so.

Reiser developed ReiserFS, the default file system on SUSE Linux/openSUSE, Slackware, Xandros, Yoper, Linspire, and Kurumin Linux. The 44-year-old claimed his wife had stolen money from his company, Namesys. He lobbied local government officials to change the family court system, which ordered him to pay child support.

Reiser, who faces sentencing in July, could obtain a reduced prison term or the possibility of early parole if he leads investigators to the body. The judge and prosecutors in the case would have to agree to the deal.

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