Tech Guru/Murderer Hans Reiser Wants a New Murder Trial

I first read Hans Reiser’s story in The Adderall Diaries by Stephen Elliott.

Reiser is a 47-year-old computer programmer from California. He was accepted to the University of California, Berkely at age 15, and later worked at a variety of software companies while developing his own software. In 2004 he founded the corporation Namesys to coordinate the development of his innovative ReiserFS and Reiser4 file systems (each employed under the popular Linux operating system).

He met his wife, Nina, through a mail-order bride catalogue while working in St.Petersburg, Russia. They moved to the U.S., married, had two kids and, eventually, divorced.

From The Adderall Diaries epilogue:

  • “In late August Hans gives Paul Hora his recorded confession…In a fit of rage, he punched Nina in the face, then choked her. He says he placed her in a duffel bag and stored her for two days in the back of the Honda CRX while he went out at night with a small shovel and dug the hole. He dug the grave at a plateau three hundred feet below a hiking trail. The hole is four feet deep at the end and four feet long in hard, packed ground. The Confession is itself a lie. The murder was premeditated. Sources tell me that prior to giving Hora his statement Hans admitted to digging Nina’s grave two weeks in advance.”

An article today by Wired‘s David Kravets (the relationship between Wired and the Reiser story is described in the book), showed Reiser’s new plea to be released from prison, citing coercion by his own lawyer and a conspiracy against him.

The odd thing is that not only did Reiser admit to the crime, but he revealed the location of the body to get his sentence bumped down to second-degree murder. It’s not quite clear what his intentions are, but it’s clear (to me, at least) that Reiser’s genius was also his downfall.

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