PONTIAC, Mich. – A computer scientist who fled to his native India after the 2008 slayings of his wife and two children in their suburban Detroit home was convicted Thursday of first-degree murder in their deaths.
An Oakland Circuit Court jury returned the verdict in the case of Lakshminivasa Nerusu, 46, who was arrested in February 2013.
He testified during the trial that he "blacked out" and didn't remember what happened the day of the killings and must have been insane. Defense lawyer Lawrence Kaluzny said Nerusu was insane at the time of the killings.
"There is no getting around that the cause of those deaths was my client, Mr. Nerusu," Kaluzny told jurors when the trial started. "In spite of what he did, he is still entitled to a fair trial."
Under Michigan law, Nerusu will receive a mandatory sentence of life in prison without possibility of parole. Judge Nanci Grant scheduled his sentencing for July 3.
Jayalakshmi, (jeye-ah-LAHK'-smee) Nerusu, 37, the couple's 14-year-old daughter Tejasvi and their 12-year-old son Siva were killed Oct. 13, 2008. Police in Novi checking on the family's welfare found their bodies two weeks later.
Authorities said domestic problems preceded the deaths.
According to prosecutors, Lakshminivasa Nerusu first stabbed his wife 59 times, then waited several hours for his children to arrive home from school. He slit the throat of his daughter after she got off a school bus, and 40 minutes later slashed his son's throat, prosecutors said.
"The man who was supposed to love them, care for them and protect them was the same man who brought their young lives to an horrific end," Assistant Prosecutor Tricia Dare said before testimony began in the case.
Nerusu, an unemployed software programmer, fled to India the day after the killings but was arrested and extradited in 2013.