A noted computer programmer convicted of murdering his wife must pay his children $60 million, a California jury has ruled. Hans Reiser, whose Namesys company developed widely-used software, was convicted of murdering his Russian wife Nina in 2008. Now, a civil wrongful death lawsuit has determined that he must compensate his children for the damage he has caused them.
Attorneys for the children had asked Alameda County jurors to award $15 million for each child. The jury deliberated for two days and decided to go further, awarding $25 million to each child, plus $10 million in damages.
Reiser was sentenced to 15 years to life for murdering his wife in their home in the Oakland Hills. She went missing in September of 2006, and Reiser was charged with murder one month later. In a plea agreement, Reiser showed police where he had buried the body in exchange for his charge being reduced from first-degree murder to second-degree murder.
Reiser led police to his wife’s remains, which were in a shallow grave about a half mile from their home. In the civil trial, he represented himself, claiming that the killing of his wife was justified for the protection of their children. He claimed that his wife suffered from a variety of illnesses, including Munchausen by Proxy Syndrome, in which parents cause their children to become sick or injured in order to draw attention to themselves. Authorities said there was no evidence to support Reiser’s claims.