Linux Programmer Found Guilty of First Degree Murder

April 29th, 2008 at 12:00 am

hans reiser

What is the geek stereotype? Skinny, thick glasses, pale skin and a diminished or lack of social life. Generally that’s what comes to mid when we think of software developers with Mensa IQ’s. Who would ever think cold blooded murder?

Anyway, stereotypes are just generalizations and there’s always exceptions to the rules especially when it comes to people.

Hans Reiser , Linux programmer and developer of ReiserFS filesystem, was found guilty of first degree murder at Alameda County Superior Court.

Wired magazine has the full story . In a nutshell, Reiser and wife Nina were going through a divorce when on September 3, 2006, was last seen dropping off their jids at Reiser’s apartment. Nina Reiser’s mysterious disapearance lead to the arrest of Hans Reiser on October 10, 2006.

No body, murder weapon nor any physical evidence proving the murder was ever found and Reiser was convicted based only on circumstantial evidence. The verdict was read today.

It’s too long to tell the whole story but there are troubling issues here. Murder for one, conviction second. It’s not impossible for Reiser to kill his wife, maybe he was such a smart person who tripped over the line. On the other hand, conviction without proving guilt beyond reasonable doubt is also a problem.

Something to think about. On another side, it’s great to know that geeks and billionaires are just human.