An Oakland County jury didn’t believe Lakshminivasa Nerusu’s claims that he was insane when he stabbed his wife dozens of times and slit his children’s throats, returning three verdicts of first-degree murder after deliberating for less than two hours.
Nerusu will be sentenced July 8, but that’s a formality. The charges carry a sentence of life in prison with no chance of parole, The Detroit News reports.
The newspaper said Nerusu showed no emotion as the verdicts were read. He had testified in his own defense, saying he must have been insane when he killed his wife and two children because he doesn’t remember the slayings.
Nerusu admitted that he killed is wife, 37-year-old Jayalakshimi; his daughter, 14-year-old Tejasvi; and his son, Siva Kumar, 12. He stabbed his wife 59 times on the morning of Oct. 13, 2008, then slit his children’s throats several hours later when they returned home from school.
He hid out in his native India for five years before his extradition to the United States in 2013. The bodies of his family were discovered about two weeks after the killings when school officials in Walled Lake expressed concern that the children hadn’t been in school.
Assistant Oakland County Prosecutor Tricia Dare said in closing arguments Wednesday that Nerusu felt trapped in an unhappy marriage and stabbed his wife nearly 60 times, then waited for his children to come home from school and slit their throats to gain his freedom.
Instructions given to the jury of five men and seven women allowed them to consider several options, including acquittal; first-degree premeditated murder; second-degree murder; not guilty by reason of insanity; or guilty but mentally ill.
Two forensic exams found Nerusu was mentally competent to stand trial.