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Hans Reiser Trial: Day Four

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10:36 a.m.: Testimony begins today, but there's a delay. The attorneys, without jurors present, are haggling over the expected testimony of the Reisers' 8-year-old son.

The boy has taken a seat on the stand, and the jurors have filed in. The social worker is sitting next to the boy.

10:56 a.m.: The Reisers' son told prosecutor Hora this morning that he understands the difference between the truth and a lie. He said he's 8 years old, lives with his maternal grandmother in St. Petersburg, Russia. Hora asked him a number of questions to make clear to jurors that while he's young, he can answer many questions accurately.

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Reiser's Son Testifies; Provides Conflicting Testimony Of Mother

Speaking in a monotone voice, the dark-haired boy lurched forward from the witness chair when answering questions from Alameda County prosecutor Paul Hora. The boy, who just flew in from Russia where he is living with his grandparents and younger sister, looked bug-eyed and scared when he was first escorted to the courtroom filled with about four dozen onlookers.

Hora called the boy to recount the September 2006 day his mother, Nina Reiser, vanished after she dropped him and his sister at their father's Oakland house for the weekend.

The boy, who speaks fluent Russian and English, told jurors in a mixed-language voice that he did not remember what happened when his mother said she was leaving the father's house after the drop-off. She had briefly come inside, the boy testified.

That testimony conflicted with what he said during a hearing earlier this year, when a judge concluded there was enough evidence for the father to stand trial on allegations he killed his Russian wife to end a nasty divorce and child custody battle.

During the earlier hearing, the child said he saw his mom leave the house and he and his father and sister went downstairs to play videogames. On the stand Tuesday, he told jurors he could not recall what happened after his mother announced she was leaving.

"Do you remember what happened?" prosecutor Hora asked.

"I don't remember," the boy replied.

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UPDATE: Also: Son Says He Saw Linux Guru Carrying 'Somebody' Wrapped in a Bag 'Like a Ball'

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