PONTIAC (WWJ) – An Oakland County jury will resume deliberations Thursday morning in the case of a Novi man accused of murdering his wife and two children back in 2008.
Testifying in his own defense, Lakshminivasa Nerusu said he blacked out and doesn’t remember stabbing his 37-year-old wife more than 50 times and then killing his 14-year old daughter and 12-year old son as they came home from school to their apartment in the area of 13 Mile and Novi Road.
Police said Nerusu fled to India following the killings and had been on the run, living in mosques and temples for nearly five years before he was discovered, arrested and extradited back to Michigan last year.
Nerusu’s attorney, Larry Kaluzny, filed a notice of insanity, but his client was ultimately found competent to stand trial.
“It’s not about who did it; it’s not about what was done. We didn’t argue that,” said Kaluzny, speaking to WWJ’s Jon Hewett and other reporters on Wednesday. “From our perspective (the question is): Was he insane or wasn’t he?”
Kaluzny said he couldn’t say when a verdict was expected.
“I gave up years ago trying to guess how long juries are gonna stay out,” he said. “Because it could be one juror who has a question — it could be more — but this was obviously a high-profile case; they know there’s a lot of media coverage, and maybe they’re just being thorough.”
The first witness to take the stand, last week, was Nerusu’s brother who testified that Nerusu had lost his job in Illinois before he and his family moved to Michigan. The defense attorney asked if he was aware that Nerusu had lost approximately $100,000 in the stock market, and the brother testified that he was aware of that.
Assistant Prosecutor Trisha Dare told the court that Nerusu planned the murders and brutally stabbed his wife and two children then went to a travel agency:
“He paid cash, nine-hundred and seventy-five dollars, for the first available one-way flight to India,” Dare told the court.
If convicted of first degree murder, Nerusu faces life in prison without parole.
The jury will reconvene at 11 a.m Thursday.