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Trial Begins for Man Extradited from India on Charges He Killed His Family

Lakshminivasa Nerusu lost big when Lehman Brothers collapsed in 2008, which authorities allege motivated him to slit his wife’s and then his children’s throats before fleeing the United States.

Lakshminivasa Nerusu, 46, goes to trial this week on three charges of first-degree murder. (Oakland County Jail photo)
Lakshminivasa Nerusu, 46, goes to trial this week on three charges of first-degree murder. (Oakland County Jail photo)

Justice may be finally coming for survivors of a Novi woman and her two children, who police say were systematically killed by their husband and father in a horrific 2008 murder that was profiled on the “America’s Most Wanted” program.

Lakshminivasa Nerusu, who was extradited from India a year ago, will face charges that he killed his family Tuesday in Oakland County Circuit Court, the Detroit Free Press reports.

Authorities allege Nerusu, 46, slit the throat of his wife, Jayalakshmi, 37, on the morning of Oct. 13, 2008, drove to a drugstore to buy bandages to treat his own injuries, and then waited in the family’s Novi townhouse until his children – daughter, Tejasvi, 14, and his son, Siva Kumar, 12 – arrived home from school, and then killed them by the same manner.

He fled to his native India and hid out for more than five years before he was arrested and returned to the United States in 2013. He has been held without bond since in the Oakland County Jail.

The bodies of the victims weren’t discovered until 14 days after Nerusu boarded a flight bound for India. Relatives reported not having seen the Nerusu family, and school officials reached out to the Novi Police Department after the children failed to show up at school, according to a 2013 report by The Oakland Press.

In February 2013, The New Indian Express said job and financial losses prompted the triple murder. Nerusu was a high-level software engineer who had invested heavily in the U.S. stock market, primarily in now-bankrupt Lehman Brothers holdings.

“He lost his job too and had no money even to pay house rent. He was surviving just on government dole. Frustrated, he wanted to return to India but his wife refused. He got furious and killed his wife and two children, it is learnt,” the New Indian Times reported.

Nerusu’s defense attorney, Lawrence Kaluzny, said his client was insane at the time of the killings, an argument that contradicts the findings of psychiatrists who examined Nerusu and concluded he was sane at the time of the killings and is competent to stand trial.

In a phone interview with the Free Press last week, Kaluzny said that when he first met with Nerusu after his extradition, he said, “Look, I loved my kids, I had to be crazy to kill my kids.”

Oakland County Chief Assistant Prosecutor Paul Walton told the Free Press that authorities believe Nerusu waited for his children to come home from school before fleeing shows premeditation.

Nerusu faces three charges of first-degree murder, and could spend the rest of his life in prison if he’s convicted. The trial before Judge Nanci Grant is expected to last about a week.

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