The Novi man who is accused of slitting the throats of his wife and two children for fleeing to India six years ago plans to testify during his trial, which got underway this week in Oakland County Circuit Court.
Lakshminivasa Rao Nerusu, 46, is expected to testify that he was insane when he killed his family, The Detroit News reports. He was previously judged competent to stand trial on three charges of first-degree premeditated murder.
Nerusu’s attorney, Lawrence G. Kaluzny, said there’s no question the defendant killed his wife, 37-year-old Jayalakshimi; his daughter, 14-year-old Tejasvi; and his son, Siva Kumar, 12, on Oct. 13, 2008.
“He loved (Jayalakshmi) and he loved their kids,” Kaluzny told jurors. “To this day, he doesn’t know how he would do what he did, but he will tell you, ‘I had to be insane to kill my family.’
“The acts that occurred are those of someone out of control. Of overkill. Not planned out, but of someone who is mentally ill.”
Assistant Oakland County Prosecutor Tricia Dare offered jurors a different perspective of the gruesome crime.
After the children left for school that morning, Nerusu, an unemployed software engineer, stabbed his wife 57 times, the Detroit Free Press reports. His daughter came home from school that afternoon and after she had taken off her shoes and put down her backpack, he cut her throat.
“With one slice, she drops to the ground dead,” Dare said.
When Siva Kumar walked in the door about 40 minutes later, his father cut his throat while was still removing his shoes and nearly “decapitated him.”
Dare said the evidence shows Nerusu had conducted Internet searches relating to “human anatomy, human dissection and airline schedules” the night before the triple murder.
“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,” she said. “Your verdict should be nothing short of three counts of first-degree murder.”
Nerusu fled to India the day after the murders and remained there until 2013, when he was captured after an international manhunt that included a segment profiling him on the “America’s Most Wanted” program.
His defense attorney said that after Nerusu’s lost his job, his wife had pressured him to support his family. He reportedly had suffered heavy financial losses after having invested heavily in now bankrupt Lehman Bros. stock, the New Indian Express reported.if Nerusu is found not guilty by reason of insanity, he will be held in a state psychiatric facility for at least 60 days.