PONTIAC (WWJ) – A Novi man has been found guilty on three counts of murder in the deaths of his wife and two children back in 2008.
An Oakland County jury handed down the verdict Thursday morning, on the second day of deliberations.
Testifying in his own defense, Lakshminivasa Nerusu said he blacked out and didn’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 arrived home from school at 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 on the streets and in mosques and temples for nearly five years before he was discovered, arrested and extradited back to Michigan last year.
The first witness to take the stand 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 around $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, brutally stabbed his wife and two children — then went to a travel agency in a rush to flee.
“He paid cash, $975, for the first available one-way flight to India,” Dare told the court.
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?”
Nerusu faces mandatory life in prison. A sentencing date has not been set.