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4/30/2008
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Programmer Hans Reiser Convicted Of Murder, Faces 25 Years To Life

Reiser was convicted this week of killing of his wife, Nina, whose body has not been found since her disappearance in 2006.

Computer engineer Hans Reiser, known for developing the ReiserFS file system, will be sentenced in July for the killing of his wife, Nina, whose body has not been found since her disappearance.

Reiser was convicted this week of first-degree murder. His wife was last seen dropping off the couple's two children at Reiser's Oakland, Calif., home in September 2006.

Although investigators have not found her body, they pieced together enough evidence to convince jurors that she is dead and that Reiser killed her.

Police found Nina Reiser's vehicle abandoned with groceries, her pocketbook, and her cell phone. The cell phone's battery had been removed, eliminating the possibility that investigators could trace her whereabouts from cell phone tower signals after she was last seen. Hans Reiser's own cell phone battery had been removed as well.

Reiser removed a front seat from the Honda CRX he had been driving and hosed down the interior of the car. Police also found books on murder inside the car, along with 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 unusual statements and behavior on Reiser's part 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.

Jurors took three days to decide on which charges to apply to the case. They decided unanimously in favor of the most serious charges, which indicate their belief that a murder was planned.

The Linux developer faces 25 years to life in prison.

He developed ReiserFS, the default file system on SUSE Linux/openSUSE, Slackware, Xandros, Yoper, Linspire, and Kurumin Linux. He claimed his wife had stolen money from his company, Namesys, and he lobbied local government officials to change the Family Court system, which ordered him to pay child support.

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