Tuesday, July 8, 2008

A Platypus That Sings Like A Canary

Oh, Hans. Quirky, odd, strange, platypus-ian Hans. Even though you had been found guilty; even though you sound guilty; even though you act guilty...I don't know, I guess maybe I thought there was a small shred of hope that the man whose attorney compared him to the likes of a platypus (as the basis for the defense claim that he didn't kill his wife, Nina) maybe, possibly didn't actually kill his wife. But when you're in talks with the prosecution regarding a sentencing deal if you disclose the location of the body, well, that kind of leads one to believe that the jury got it right, you cowardly, wife killing bastard of a platypus, you.

A brief review: Hans Reiser, the creator of the Linux file sharing system which he oh-so humbly named after himself, ReiserFS (FS = file system. Clever, eh?), was accused of killing his wife Nina for reasons that people who kill their wives have as justification for all of the killing. That is to say, it doesn't matter what led him to choose to kill her, it's wrong whatever it is. I'm fairly certain that everyone who had any contact with Hans at any point ever would all say the same thing about him. He's strange. Very, very strange. So strange in fact, that his attorney's "theme" during his closing arguments was that Hans was like a platypus. Yes, a platypus. That webbed footed, duck billed mammal that lays eggs. The platypus is strange, but that doesn't mean that it's a killer. (But actually, the male platypus has a spiny little spike thing that protrudes off the back of his foot that will shoot venom into predators as a way of fending them off. So, in reality, the platypus looks weird, acts weird and DOES kill other things. Um, hello, defense attorney? Yes, meet Wikipedia.)

At the time of the platypus's trial, Nina's body had not been found. There were no weapons found. All they had to go on were Hans' strange behaviors which included, but were far from limited to:
  • Removing the seat from his Honda CRX because he said the men in his family always removed seats from cars so there was more room in there for him to sleep.

  • Going to Reno after his wife's disappearance to "sample the casino buffets."

  • Removing batteries from cell phones so that the location of the cell phone could not be traced.

  • Reading books about murder investigations because, according to him, he "wanted to know how the police behaved."

  • Driving around with $9,000 in cash and his passport in a fanny pack.

And while none of these things are indicative of someone who has committed murder, when you've already been accused of the murder and these are your behaviors afterwards, it's not going to look like you didn't do it, and that's regardless as to whether you're a platypus or just a regular ol' mammal or not.

So on April 28, Hans was found guilty of first degree murder by a jury who had to sit through 5 months of testimony which included 11 days of excruciatingly painfully detailed testimony from Hans. (By the way, during the 5 month trial, Hans pretty much succeeded in pissing off everyone in that courtroom at least once, including the judge and his own lawyer, who did not hold back his disparaging remarks about Hans, even during his closing arguments. You really have to wonder about how things are going to work out for you when your own lawyer is telling the jury that you're "an asshole".) Hans is scheduled to be sentenced in a couple of days on July 9. First degree murder in California carries a penalty of a mandatory 25 years to life sentence.

But wait! There's more! According to the fine folks over yonder at Wired.com, Hans had been in talks with the prosecution in the latest episode of Legal Let's Make A Deal! It's as if the prosecutors have said to him, "Here's the deal, Hans. You tell us where Nina's body is and we will recommend that your conviction be reduced from first degree murder to second degree murder. (2nd degree murder in CA carries a mandatory penalty of 15 years to life.)" So, Door Number 1, Door Number 2 or Door Number 3. One of those doors contains your deal, Hans. The other two contain cinder block jail cells and a roommate named Bubba. Choose wisely, Hans.

Hans has chosen wisely as of this afternoon. Or, at the very least, Hans has chosen the path that he thinks will net him the greatest reward as he led authorities to Nina's body this afternoon. It was in a bag, off of a trail, in the Oakland hills, only about a couple of miles from the Reiser household. (And now, as we think back to when one of Hans's children said that he had "a dream" that he saw Hans carrying a big bag with his Mom in it, we hope the child ends up on the saner side of "a little bit off", as it's about 50-50 for however the kid will turn out in life after witnessing something like that.)

So much for the S&M techno geek crowd of Silicon Valley. So much for the Russian mafia. So much for all of the "oddities" that Hans exhibited that were supposed to just be "oddities". So much for taking the car seat out of the car to make it more comfortable to sleep in. So much for hosing out the inside of the car because that's what your family does. So much for traveling to Reno after Nina went missing so that you could sample the buffets. So much for your Dad defending you in court and in the media. So much for your defense attorney's argument that you are like a platypus, odd and strange but not a killer. So much for all of the crap that you tried so hard to make everyone else believe. Actually, I think you tried to make yourself believe it more than you tried to make everyone else believe it. The difference is that it worked on you. I don't think that a lot of us who were following your ridiculously long, tedious and drawn out trial were leaning on the side of "He's an innocent platypus." Quite the opposite.

This will be the last time that anything positive can come from Hans Reiser. It makes me a little bit nauseous to know that the length of his sentence had to be used as a bargaining chip in order to retrieve Nina's body and to give her friends and her family at least a sliver of peace. But then again, just because his sentence gets reduced, that doesn't mean he has to be let out. Thanks for finally doing the right thing, Hans, you cowardly, weasel you.

And I know that you've been labeled as a 'platypus' throughout this whole ordeal. And I know that, although quirky and odd, you're really not like a platypus at all. And it is for that reason that you can think of yourself as a platypus all you want (if you even do), but I will always think of you as the rat bastard who killed his children's mother.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

And so much for explaining away incriminating evidence with my all-time favorite "Reiserism": Random debris accumulates in my fanny pack.