Hans Reiser, who developed the Reiser File System, was convicted yesterday of First Degree Murder. He was accused of killing his wife, who’s body was never recovered.
The Reiser Filesystem is thought to be one of the best journaling file systems available for Linux computers. However, since Reiser’s incarceration under suspicion of murder, the usual maintenance and development of the file system that may have otherwise occurred has not happened, so relatively few people have deployed it and major distributions tend to shun it as a default.
Reiser’s defense was, simply, that his wife was not dead but rather, in hiding in Russia having abandoned her family.
The turning point in the trial came when Reiser took the stand in his own defense March 3.
In his 11 days of testimony, Reiser offered lengthy and verbose explanations for every piece of circumstantial evidence. But Reiser’s version of events often drew disbelieving head shakes from jurors — and occasional smirks from the trial judge.
In a characteristic exchange under cross-examination, Reiser tried to explain why he’d removed and discarded the passenger seat from his two-seater Honda CRX after Nina vanished. His explanation: He’d been sleeping in the vehicle, and wanted the extra room. Asked why he hosed down the inside of the car, leaving an inch of water on the floorboard, he explained that the interior was dirty, and he mistakenly believed the water would drain out.
“I just assumed that every car engineer would put a hole in the car,” he said.
“Don’t you remember sleeping on a nice, soft, wet carpet?” Hora went on to ask.
Reiser replied, “I don’t remember.”
By the time he was done, Reiser had succeeded only in dispelling the cloud of ambiguity surrounding his actions in the case, replacing it with a storm of very specific explanations that each strained credulity. Jurors had to choose between Reiser’s strained version of events and the plain conclusion that he was lying.