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Software Engineer's Murder Trial Begins

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Convicting a defendant of charges that he murdered a person whose body hasn't been found is a challenging but not overwhelming task, prosecutor Paul Hora said as he prepared to deliver his opening statements in the trial of Hans Reiser Monday.

Hora, who has been in the Alameda County District Attorney's office for 15 years and is the son of former Superior Court Judge Peggy Hora, said, "I must prove that Nina is dead, that Hans Reiser killed her and that he committed murder."

Although Nina Reiser's body hasn't been found, in October 2006 prosecutors charged Hans Reiser with murdering her after Oakland police said they found biological and trace evidence suggesting that she is dead as well as blood evidence tying him to her death. He's being held in custody without bail.

Hans Reiser's attorney, William DuBois, said he thinks the prosecution has only "scant evidence" against Reiser.

DuBois said Reiser "had no opportunity to commit the crime" because his son testified that Reiser was at his house with his children at the time that prosecutors allege that Reiser killed his wife.

DuBois said, "There's a serious question if (Reiser) will testify" but he declined to give a definitive answer.

Referring to Reiser's career in the computer world and the fact that was admitted into the University of California, Berkeley, at the age of 15, DuBois said, "He has a very challenging personality and intellect" and might "testify in algorithms."

DuBois, who was an Alameda County prosecutor from 1970 to 1976 before he became a defense attorney, said Reiser "is devoid of social skills and has lived the life of the mind."

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Hopefully, Reiser's attorney has advised him against testifying in algorithms!

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