PONTIAC (WWJ) – The first witnesses took the stand in the murder trial of a man accused of killing his wife and two children in Novi in 2008 — and then taking off for India.

Tuesday, the man police say is responsible,Lakshminivasa Nerusu, the husband and father of the victims, went on trial in Oakland County reports WWJ’s Beth Fisher.

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The first witness to take the stand in the murder case 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 one hundred thousand dollars 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:

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“He paid cash, nine-hundred and seventy-five dollars, for the first available one-way flight to India,” Dare stated to the court.

Novi Police Chief David Malloy says they have a strong case against 47-year-old  Nerusu in the murders of his wife, 14-year-old daughter and 12-year-old son.

“We are confident that once our case is presented to a jury that they will , they will see the overwhelming magnitude of what took place here and the fact that beyond a reasonable doubt Mr. Nerusu is responsible for this.”

“Our investigative staff along with our partners from the Michigan State Police crime lab have been working diligently with our prosecutor’s office to make sure that no stone has remained unturned, in terms of this investigation and that we have a solid case for trial,” he said.

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Nerusu was captured in India last year and extradited back to Michigan. His attorney plans to plead insanity, but he has been found competent to stand trial. He could go to prison for the rest of his life if he’s convicted.