Chicago: An Indian-origin man, extradited from India to face trial in the US for a 2008 triple murder in which he is accused of stabbing his wife 59 times, has claimed insanity as his trial began in the American state of Michigan.
Lakshminivasa Rao Nerusu, 46, fatally stabbed his wife 59 times before waiting for his 12-and 14-year-old children to come home from school, ambushing them in the front hallway and killing each with one slash of the knife in 2008.
Seven men and seven women, selected Tuesday morning as jurors to hear the case in an Oakland County Circuit courtroom, listened as Assistant Prosecutor Tricia Dare in her opening statement laid out a morning "that began like any other" in the Nerusu home.
Only Lakshminivasa, she said, had been up the night before on the Internet, researching "human anatomy, human dissection and airline schedules."
"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 was quoted as saying by Detroit Free Press.
"Your verdict should be nothing short of three counts of first-degree murder," the Assistant Prosecutor said.
Lakshminivasa, a computer scientist with a master`s degree in mathematics, insists he was insane at the time of the killings and is expected to take the witness stand in his own defense.
Lakshminivasa`s attorney Lawrence Kaluzny, said his client, unemployed, was collapsing under financial woes and constant pressure from his wife to support the family.
"He said, `I had to be insane to kill my family, whom I loved`," Kaluzny said.
Lakshminivasa, Kaluzny told the jury, "blacked out" during the killings and has little recollection of what happened.
When Tejasvi Nerusu, 14, came through the door that October afternoon in 2008, an honours student fresh off the school bus, her father waited until she took her shoes off and deposited her backpack. He then slit her throat with a single swipe, Dare told the jury.
Forty minutes after he killed his daughter, Lakshminivasa ambushed his 12-year-old son, Siva Kumar, as he, too, arrived home. He slashed his son`s throat before the boy could get his second shoe off, leaving him dead in the entry of the family`s house in the Wexford complex in Novi, she said.
The children`s mother, stabbed 59 times, lay dead nearby on the floor.
Following the killings, Lakshminivasa fled to Hyderabad, but was arrested in 2013 and extradited back to Michigan to face murder charges.