Why didn’t Hans’ neighbors see anything suspicious except an evening driveway washing?

The fact is that – in the modern urban setting – our neighbors miss most things that happen along the sightlines that loosely connect two or three homes. For example, no witness has reported seeing Nina’s van parked at the Exeter house on that Labor Day Weekend and no witness – save Hans and possibly young R – has seen it drive away.

I’m relying on two correspondents, here, a lawyer and a professor for the following description:

The Exeter horse is sited on a Hillside with the street-access level on top. The garage of the Exeter house is on that upper level, and can present an open view to an onlooker. The next level down contains the living room, an entryway where the post with the blood smear(s) and the kitchen. The front door of the house is on this level and opens to a small wooden deck; here are steps leading down from the deck’s edge to the street level.

On the lowest level, we find Hans living in a bedroom/office with glass doors that open from the BACK of the house (the garage being the front to a small wooden deck overlooking a small canyon.

The stairway to the front door is to the left of the driveway and carport.

The neighboring house to the right is immediately adjacent – no fence or other division.

Photo 1 is of the front of the house at street level, with the garage door visible.


Photo 2 is a view from the street. You can see the small deck and a picture window. The front door of the house is to the right of the picture window, obscured by the tree trunk.


Photo 3 is of the glass doors of the basement.


For the basic account and photos I’m indebted to Professor Maria S. Chang, a political science professor who has closely followed the case.

The famous Sherlock Holmes’ dictum holds: When you rule out the impossible, that which remains – however improbable – is likely the truth. In the realm of criminal trials, we deal in reasonable possibilities and reasonable certainties, not absolutes (or no one would ever get convicted). So this jury will need to wrestle with the following conundrums:

  1. Is it reasonably possible that Nina is alive and well in, say, Russia or Sweden, having cleverly faked out her friends, family and prospective employer, abandoning car, purse, money, credit cards, phone, passports and slipped quietly and suddenly away from her van, parked several miles away with rotting groceries? That scenario is Twilight Zone conjecture; I’ve already suggested that to most or all jurors the alien abduction scenario is more plausible.

  2. Is it reasonably IM-possible (as DuBois will argue) that Hans Reiser could have quickly and quietly and covertly killed Nina and disposed of her remains in the time allotted and under the peculiar circumstances?

One hopes in vain for a better field investigation in these cases, and (from the defense attorney’s perspective) one hopes for a better client with a better script. The late Henry Fonda in his prime, with a good script, would probably be acquitted. If anyone can snatch a conviction from the jaws of justice here, it is Hans Reiser. Will he?

Stay tuned.


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