Hans Reiser pleads not guilty
An Oakland man pleaded not guilty today to killing his estranged wife, whose body is still missing more than two months after she disappeared.
Hans Reiser, 42, entered a not-guilty plea in Alameda County Superior Court in Oakland in the slaying of his wife, Nina Reiser, 31.
The computer programmer invoked his right to have a preliminary hearing within 10 days of today's court appearance. Judge Trina Thompson Stanley scheduled the hearing for Dec. 11, after which Judge Julie Conger will decide whether there is enough evidence to hold Reiser over for trial.
His mother, Beverly Palmer, showed no emotion during the morning hearing, but Nina Reiser's best friend, Ellen Doren, cried as she sat next to the victim's mother, Irina Sharanova.
Nina Reiser's friends said they were more focused on fate the couple's children and on finding their mother -- who has not been seen since Sept. 3 -- than on Hans Reisers' court appearance.
"The plea is not important to me," said Nina Reiser's boyfriend, Anthony Zografos, who accused Oakland police of not doing enough to locate the missing woman.
"I think that's unacceptable," he said.
Nina Reiser was last seen Sept. 3, when she took the couple's son and daughter shopping at the Berkeley Bowl supermarket, then dropped them off at her estranged husband's home on Exeter Drive in the Oakland hills, police said.
The couple's 7-year-old son told police he heard his parents arguing and using "not nice words" the day police believe he killed her, authorities said.
Nina Reiser's 2001 Honda Odyssey was found six days later about 3 miles from Hans Reiser's home, the groceries askew in the back seat as if someone had driven the minivan wildly, police said.
Today, attorney Daniel Horowitz withdrew from the case, saying Reiser couldn't afford his services.
"This is an incredibly complex case," Horowitz said in an interview. "It requires hundreds of hours of intense work and a major amount of staff involvement. He actually can't afford me. There's no money."
Reiser's other attorney, William Du Bois, said his client wanted to have the preliminary hearing set sooner rather than later. The attorney said the case against his client was "flimsy."
"No case in the history of California, based on circumstantial evidence of murder, has featured an investigation which ran such a short period of time," Du Bois said. "They have to prove not only that she's missing, which we all know, but also that's she dead, which we don't know."
Du Bois added that there's no evidence that her death was "caused by a criminal agency." His client had a number of theories of where his wife could be, including "all around the world," Du Bois said.
Doren said she wanted to focus on the couple's children. "The people suffering right now are the children," she said, adding that a fund for their education has been established.
Contributions can be sent to Education Fund for the Reiser children, 6114 LaSalle Ave.#127 , Oakland, CA 94611, she said.
There is a $25,000 reward for information leading to the location of Nina Reiser. Police ask anyone with information to contact Oakland homicide Sgt. Bruce Brock at (510) 238-3821 or a police tip line at (510) 637-0298.
The story of Hans Reiser's arrest was reported back on Oct 11.