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back to article File system killer leads police to wife's bones

Convicted murderer and, er, file system whiz Hans Reiser today led police to the buried body of his wife Nina Reiser. In an apparent bid to reduce his sentence, Reiser agreed to drag police into Redwood Regional Park and disclose the location of his wife's remains. Police found a grave four feet by four feet by four feet filled …

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scumbag

How can someone sit there and lie to their kids, and the world like that, all along going "Oh, woe is me, I'm innocent", and then have the effrontery to try and get a reduced sentence for proving that he was lying all along!!!

I hope they run windows ME on the computers available to the prisoners.

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Ash
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Reduced sentence?

His bid for a reduced sentence, after pleading innocense for 6 months AT LEAST, is to lead the police DIRECTLY to where the bones of his wife are buried?

Dude has a screw loose... Maybe he's going to switch to 'diminished capacity.'

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Anonymous Coward

Makes you wonder though...

Anyone remember that murderer, about 15 years ago somewhere I think in Shropshire, who murdered his girlfriend? He buried her under the floorboards, then went all through the Police reconstructions, crocodile tears on TV, "Woe is me! How could anyone take her from me?". Finally some junior detective twigged about 2 months later, they went round arrested him, searched the house, found the body and banged him up for 20 years.

Makes you wonder how a person can be perfectly sane for most of their life, then *snap* they just lose it and do something so morally incomprehensible and completely out of character.

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Anonymous Coward

@scumbag

>I hope they run windows ME on the computers available to the prisoners.

I believe that's termed "cruel and unusual punishment".

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Wow! 2^20 geek commentators CAN be wrong!

Remember the firestorm of comments back in April on /., ars tech, El Reg, etc? Lots of geeks sharing their expertise, eg:

"The wife's lover admits to mass murder but without a body the husband is convicted of 1st degree murder?! If that's not reasonable doubt I don't know what the f*ck is."

"It seems to me this man has been convicted of murder because he is a bit weird."

Oh well, maybe actually sitting in the jury & hearing the evidence does help a wee bit, even if it costs more. Wonder if I should let the govt know?

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Weird legal system......

So...the guy leads the whole legal system on a chase, protesting his innocence and costing the taxpayer more money while they have to build a case against him.

Realising he's probably going to lose he admits his guilt and then pretty much proves it beyond any doubt by leading them directly to the grave.

And he's likely to get a REDUCED sentence?

I don't agree with people getting shorter sentences on the basis that they suddenly decide to co-operate. It doesn't change what he did.

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Unhappy

idiot

If he'd shut up from the beginning and let his lawyer handle the case, he may well have walked free. Personally, I've never been entirely sure he was guilty until now, It's been a very odd case. But then Hans Reiser is a fairly odd defendant.

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Re: scumbag: Windows ME?

I think that forcing someone to use Windows ME would consist of cruel and unusual punishment, and therefore not allowed (except for those in gitmo of course)

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re: scumbag

How many murderers do you think have said to the kids "yup, I've killed someone today"?

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Unhappy

very sad

Personally I doubt there is an ounce of compassion in the man. If there is any regret for what he has done this is probably only in the consequences his actions have had upon himself. From what I had read, the circumstantial evidence against him seemed compelling and I thought the jury had probably arrived at the correct verdict - now confirmed as correct by this turn of events. The reason this may result in a reduction in his sentence is because this gives his victim's family the ability to conduct a proper burial and funeral and to finally know with certainty what happened to their daughter and mother. I think under the circumstances there should be a reduction in his sentence, but he should still be imprisoned for very many years for what he did.

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Linux

Definitely a bit wierd

From what I've read about Reiser, I'd gess that he is close to what is called Asberger's syndrome when it makes it impossible for the person to live a normal life. One feature of this trait is being very good at something, usually narrowly defined and technical. Obviously coding filesystems, for Reiser. Another is a poorly developed interface to other human beings, and in particular a lack of empathy. They have to think through and rationalize what is instinctive or intuitive to most people. Speculating, I'd imagine that rational thought might have been too slow to cope with a murderous implulse, and that after that, the concepts involved in confessing to a crime of passion and loss of self-control might well be utterly foreign ones.

A penguin, because I don't believe that because someone is a murderer, everything else that he has ever touched is tainted. And because I hope that they can find a way to allow him to continue to develop filesystems while he is incarcerated. If I'm right about the psychology, denying him this will be as cruel and unusual as denying a semi-deaf man a hearing aid.

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@Charles Calthrop

I think that's what we call self preservation. It's surprisingly common.

The question is "How can someone murder another living being?". Simple, some people just don't care for other peoples' lives, others do so in self defence, some are pushed slowley 'til they crack, others are shoved so they crack pretty quickly. Some just seem to have a screw loose.

Note: I'm not implying any of these things for HR, however, anyone who kills someone, makes it pretty obvious it was him, and can produce a whole Filesystem (whether you like it or not, it is an amazing thing) must be suffering from a good selection of the above.

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Coat

@Wow! 2^20 geek commentators CAN be wrong!

Yes, obviously. However, a person should still be presumed innocent until convicted, or we're all screwed. It's easy to say in hindsight that it's obvious he did it. (although it was pretty obvious... missing car seat, blood, etc.)

For all the worth of idle commentary "He did it" "He didn't do it", it would be better if people just shut up or at least ran a betting pool on it..

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Stop

Windows ME?

Wow, I thought I'd seen it all on El Reg until this.

I was expecting a slew of comments wishing 25 years of brutal anal rape on him, administered by large sadistic men in orange jump suits.

But Windows ME? You are sick.

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@ Andy Worth

Yeah, it's a valid view to take, but the legal system has to provide some incentive to finding the body

Without it the family that remains is very unlikely to get 'closure' on the incident.

Also, there's this whole theory that correctional services are to correct behaviour. And, if after 6 months of lying, he's now no longer lying, then maybe he's starting to be, er, corrected.

I don't buy that argument as easily as I do the first tho.

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@Andy Worth

My understanding from the article is that he's already been found guilty and is just trying to make a play for a reduced sentence. Such things aren't an automatic function of law, but are at the judge's discretion so I'm sure he or she will take into account the fact that he protested his innocence for sufficiently long as to cause others to incur the financial and emotional costs of a full trial and only led police to the body fractionally before his initial sentencing.

My guess is that they want to promote people giving up the bodies, so they'll knock something off with an eye to the harm that could have been done to the victim's family had the body never been found. But it'll be a negligible amount to take account of his unwillingness to admit guilt.

Depends on the judge really (and that state's particular definition of the distinction between degrees of murder), but it's not like he's played some sort of 'get out of jail free' card at the last minute.

I don't know what computer facilities are like at American prisons, but I assume they're limited? Otherwise to whatever degree the imprisonment is meant to be punishment (versus just keeping society safe by isolating the person) may not be effective as they're essentially telling a geek that he has to stay inside all day but can play with some computers if he likes.

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Fibbin'?

What do you get for these days?

"Hangin's to good fur um, I says" etc.

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Joke

@Mark: Obligatory City Slickers quote

Mitch: So, Curly. Killed anyone today?

Curly: The day ain't over yet.

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Dead Vulture

Re: RE: FW: Scumbag

The man's killed his wife and buried her in the woods by his house. It's not really the fact that he lied to his kids that makes me think he's not quite right.

Is the vulture bad taste?

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Anonymous Coward

@ Anonymous Coward

"Anyone remember that murderer, about 15 years ago somewhere I think in Shropshire, who murdered his girlfriend? He buried her under the floorboards..."

Sounds a lot like the one in Oxford that happened a few doors down from where I used to live.

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Analytical thinking

For someone who wrote a filesystem, his thinking is more than reasonable. He's taking the route of least liability at every step.

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Paris Hilton

So now we know

Is the machine open to bribery and blackmail? Does it work for live hostages taken prisoner by countries offering rendition services to war criminals?

Some governments offer the same payment to get hostages back do they? Where are my lost Opera Tabs? Why are they no longer in History? Bloody new releases!

How much do Scandinavians charge?

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I met him

I believe It was on summer 2001. The company I was working for back then sponsored some conferences on a computer geeks event (Campus Party) in the south of Spain. He was going to give that year's main speech for Linux lovers.

I spoken to him briefly and I help him setting up his computer on the net. It was quite surprising to me that this guy that supposedly knew so much about computers and file systems didn't know how to configure a simple network interface.

His conference was pretty bad. It was totally unprepared. He wrote down 5 bullet points on a MS Word document whilst people sat down to listen to him. Unenthusiastic, uninformative, waste of time. Since then I rewarded reiserfs with different eyes. I never thought I would be such influenced by him.

Sad.

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@ Re scumbag Windows ME

They'd actually be kind enough to let them near a PC they can use there? Doubt it somehow, the guilty ones would go telling their comrades in arms die Bush die!

And wouldn't mr outgoing president hate to have hate about him spread using software written by one of the biggest companies in US history?

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@Andy Worth

Yeah it's bad that he can admit to killing her and get a reduced sentence, but at least her family get to bury her properly now.

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@Makes you wonder though...

That would have been 1991, in Oxford - the murder of Rachel McLean. The murderer in question was John Tanner who happened to be studying Classics in the same group as my (at the time at any rate) girlfriend. It took the Old Bill 17 days to find the body.Tanner was released in 2003 and is now back in New Zealand, where he was born.

You were right about the crocodile tears though - but the reconstruction he took part in went a good way towards conviction, because he was identified as having been seen but _not_ Rachel.

I met him a few times, and he always seemed like a nice bloke. Whatever it was made him flip so far will probably never be explained. A bit like Reiser.

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Anonymous Coward

>Weird legal system......

Finding the body is important to the family of the deceased, it's likely the

deal was done before he led them to the corpse at all..

>Maybe he's going to switch to 'diminished capacity.'

He tried that, it got chucked out, because he's a weirdo not insane.

Shame he wasn't living in Texas.

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Anonymous Coward

The premise...

...behind a reduced sentence is probably something along the lines that admitting the crime permits the convict to show remorse, and start making progress along the road to rehabilitation.

I'm sure that's true in some cases, but I hope the Judge gets some decent psych analysis on this guy to see if he truly is remorseful or is just trying to play the system.

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Pirate

"Jason File System"

...it is then, officially?

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Linux

Fixing ME

Even with ME, if he is on the web he could visit http://goodbye-microsoft.com and reboot...

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Stu
Pirate

Yuck. Sickening.

Who else amongst El-Reg afficionados has the work of an axe murderer actually running on their system(s)? Or on an install disk somewhere?

.

I'm going to burn my purchased copy of Suse Linux. I dont actually have it installed anywhere, his data is only on the install CDs.

.

Mind you Suse Linux sucks donkey balls too and I need the shelf space back.

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Anonymous Coward

Bones?

Not after less than two years. We live next to a churchyard that's been actively used for centuries; in our soil, at least (which is a lot wetter than Oakland I suspect) it takes a long, long time for a body to be reduced to bones. Decades, at least.

@Andy Worth:

"I don't agree with people getting shorter sentences on the basis that they suddenly decide to co-operate. "

Consider that Nina's family and her children would still not have her body back (I'm not going to use the "cl" word) had he not cooperated.

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oh /that/ body

Completey forgot about that one - thought you meant another body...

Ok, give him a reduced sentence, then re-sentence him for perverting the course of justice/lying under oath (or whatever the US equivalent is).

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Dead Vulture

Oh, but one commentator was right...

http://geekz.co.uk/lovesraymond/archive/so-i-married-a-kernel-programmer

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Plea bargaining

That reminds me of the old joke about the guy who is convicted of murdering her parents, then asks the judge for clemency on the grounds that he's just a poor orphan!

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Innocent until proven guilty.

It's jarring, yes, but it's a feature of the adversarial justice system. In criminal cases, the defendant/accused will swear under oath that they are innocent of the crimes of which they are accused, and cast doubt on the accusers where possible. Then, having been found guilty, or having exhausted the appeals process, or having realised that the case against them is too strong and changed their plea to "guilty", the defendant puts up their hands, admits guilt, and nobody holds the lies that they told against them. That's how it works.

Lawyers are, of course, allowed to represent clients that they know are guilty, because that knowledge would be covered by attorney/client privilege. The only people who can get into trouble for lying in court are ones who are not accused.

In fact, you get in worse trouble if you *carry on* maintaining your innocence after the courts have imprisoned you. You are considered to be in denial of your crime, and will not get parole or early release.

So the wording of the old principle can be given a double meaning. In the adversarial system, you have to act innocent until proven guilty.

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Anonymous Coward

@ Charles Calthrop

Seizing on a murder as an opportunity to show your wit by making a joke puts you pretty firmly in a glass house there, Charles. Of course, it's a safe bet most of your audience will laugh, so you can think you are being witty. Oh, look. You're already getting feedback from your fans. Congratulations. I'm guessing that house will probably be needing an extension soon.

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Anonymous Coward

RE: Makes you wonder though...

It was Mark Tanner and Oxford

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Gates Halo

Only goes to show that...

Open Source is a corrupter of the soul! Hallowed be Microsoft!

I wonder when Steve-o will start using *that* particular line...

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Paris Hilton

@Anonymous Coward @Anonymous Coward

Remember him! - I met him when he was studying @Nottingham - I fixed his bloody twin tub - gave myself an electric shock in the process - If I knew then what know now; however I fancied the pants of one of his housemates (hence the fixing of twin tub act of desperation - I am an electrical engineer what other chance have I got to close to girlies).

More info here - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murder_of_Rachel_McLean

Paris - 'cause I'd fix her twin jugs, err tub, any day.

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tom

cruel, yes...

but windoze is unfortunately not so unusual;-}

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Unhappy

You Limeys may bash the Prez...

But the real issue here is the California penal/judicial system. Charles Manson (and the rest of his sicko, scum "family" who have not already been released) is up for parole every two years. Ten years ago, a rapist who chopped the arms off of his victim got protection from the state after he was relocated to a community (at state expense) that really didn't want him around. He did a very light sentence, BTW. My guess is that this piece of dung will indeed get a reduced sentence, possibly let off with time served. After all, his lawyer said the whole experience of leading the cops to the body **was** traumatic to him.

Welcome to California, land of Scientology, touchy-feely, and a forgiving atmosphere for criminals.

One last note, don't fail to license your vehicle on time. You CAN be severely punished for that...

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Anonymous Coward

Reduced sentence?

From 25 years to life to 15 year to life.

So If the judge decides to sentence him for life there would be no reduction at all...

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No Justice, Just A Travesty!

No plea bargain or sentence reduction should be contemplated until this swine admits where he buried the Honda's passenger seat.

[@ thornbat] I heard that Slashdot are going to sue Reiser for the costs of the bandwidth lost to "Reiser is Innocent" threads. :o)

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@ thombat

Since you're quoting me ("The wife's lover admits to mass murder but without a body the husband is convicted of 1st degree murder?! If that's not reasonable doubt I don't know what the f*ck is."), I'd just like to say that I was right: there was reasonable doubt then. There isn't now. But the truth doesn't work retro-actively. Sorry.

Without even a body, and with a *confessed* mass murderer known to have been sleeping with the alleged victim, any jury that convicted had a screw loose. The fact that the jury got lucky isn't a defense for their actions or the police's. What if they'd been wrong? How long would it have taken to get Reisner out of gaol again? 10 years? 20? Ever? Or does it not matter if you bang up the occassional innocent if it means you can get a quick conviction?

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Anonymous Coward

Not due to aspergers syndrome

@nigel (RE: Definitely a bit wierd)

I have to disagree with you using asbergers syndrome as a reason for what this man did and also some of what you said describing the symptoms. As someone who has been diagnosed with this condition, I would disagree with people saying I can't live a normal life. As far as I can tell, my life has been as normal as any other person, with the exception of being "very good at something", which in my case (and in many others) is computing (not a narrow topic, but I love every aspect of it).

I disagree with you saying that the reason for murdering his wife and denying it afterwards is due to "lack of empathy" caused by asbergers syndrome. Though I may not display empathy outwardly as much as most people, in my mind I have empathy towards people probably more then most people, they just don't always see it. In other words, from my experience of the condition, he'd have felt just like any other person about murdering his wife. If he didn't, then he is suffering from something a lot worse then asbergers syndrome.

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He might still be innocent.

He may have just lead them straight to the body due to his exceptional knowledge of search algorithms.

Jolyon

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Go

"Murder of Rachel McLean"

From the wiki article:

"In 1991, John Tanner was given a life sentence for the murder of Rachel McLean. [...] Tanner was released from jail in early 2003"

Ah, now there's justice for ya. So a "life sentence" is a little over 10 years now, is it?

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@Lukin Brewer, AC

"Lawyers are, of course, allowed to represent clients that they know are guilty, because that knowledge would be covered by attorney/client privilege. The only people who can get into trouble for lying in court are ones who are not accused."

On the contrary, at least here in the England & Wales, barristers are not allowed to knowingly mislead a court — check out rule 302 on http://www.barstandardsboard.org.uk/standardsandguidance/codeofconduct/section1codeofconduct/partiii_fundmentalprinciples/.

If a client tells a barrister they're guilty but still wants to contest the evidence then the barrister may still go into court and argue that the evidence that the prosecution have isn't strong enough to convict the client. That doesn't involve misleading the court and serves a useful function — it makes sure that the prosecution know that they need evidence beyond reasonable doubt before they go off to court. So those of us that are innocent are protected.

"Ah, now there's justice for ya. So a "life sentence" is a little over 10 years now, is it?"

In the UK, "life" just means "indefinite". Judges usually set a minimum sentence (though they don't have to and often didn't until quite recently), after that it's at the discretion of parole boards. Parole boards are mainly interested in public safety, so essentially a life sentence means that the judge thinks you should do x years as a punishment and then parole boards will continue to detain you if your release would be a threat for society.

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Rob
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Filesystem with a new feature?

http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Comparison_of_file_systems&oldid=209063556#Features

Right hand column...

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