The young son of Linux genius Hans Reiser concluded testifying Wednesday at the behest of prosecutors who accuse his father of murdering his mother. The boy's nearly two days on the stand did what the authorities had hoped:
Jurors purposely were left confused by an 8-year-old boy who is to provide the trial's only eyewitness testimony about the final moments before his mother vanished.
That's an important distinction as the trial meanders through its second week here in Alameda County Superior Court. The boy was called by prosecutors, and flown from Russia, in a bid to show jurors his memory can't be believed as far as Sept. 3, 2006 is concerned -- the day his mother disappeared after she dropped the boy and sister at their father's Oakland hills house.
The authorities are trying to sow seeds of doubt in jurors over the boy's credibility because in December, in a pretrial hearing before a jury was picked, the boy testified he saw his mother, Nina Reiser, leave the Oakland house.
1:19 p.m.: The little boy is done testifying for the prosecution. He will be cross-examined tomorow by the defense during a morning session. After Thursday, the trial is dark all of next week because of a previously agreed-upon court schedule.
Outside court today, defense attorney William Du Bois didn't want to go into specifics about what he will ask the boy. But he acknowledged that it must have been "real tough" for the 8-year-old to be testifying in court with his father watching him. Du Bois said the boy seems to be faring well "under the circumstances, which are lousy."
Prosecutor Paul Hora declined to discuss the boy's testimony but said jurors could expect to hear next from Nina's mother, Irina Sharanova, after the defense is done cross-examining the boy. That could take place tomorrow, Hora said.
We now turn to legal analyst Steve Clark, who attended today's proceedings, to parse what we've heard so far from the boy.