Wife-killer ordered to pay kids $60 million in civil lawsuit 

click to enlarge Hans Reiser, who made his money as a computer programmer with the Linux operating systems, was ordered to pay his two children $25 million each and $10 million in punitive damage for murdering his wife, Nina. - S.F. EXAMINER FILE PHOTO
  • S.F. Examiner File Photo
  • Hans Reiser, who made his money as a computer programmer with the Linux operating systems, was ordered to pay his two children $25 million each and $10 million in punitive damage for murdering his wife, Nina.

A California jury on Tuesday found a former software developer at the center of a sensational murder trial liable for the death in 2006 of his estranged wife and awarded their two children $60 million in damages, court documents show.

Hans Reiser, who created a computer file used in the Linux operating system, was convicted in 2008 of murdering his wife, Nina, after a high-profile trial, despite the fact that neither a body nor a murder weapon was produced for the jury.

Reiser, 48, initially claimed his Russian-born wife was alive and living in Russia.

Two days before a sentencing hearing, however, he led police to a woodsy part of the Oakland Hills, where her body was found wrapped in a black bag.

Nina Reiser’s mother filed a civil lawsuit against Reiser on behalf of the two children — Rory, 12, and Niorline, 11.

The jury on Tuesday found Reiser liable for wrongful death. It awarded each child $25 million and ordered Reiser to also pay punitive damages of $10 million.

“Nina was a wonderful person and a great mother,” plaintiffs’ attorney Arturo Gonzalez said. “Taking her life has caused immense harm to everyone who knew Nina, especially her children.”

Reiser is serving a murder sentence of 15 years to life. He represented himself during the civil trial.

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