July 10, 2014 at 3:38 pm

Judge calls Novi man 'evil, selfish' for murdering family, sentences him to life

Pontiac—Describing a Novi man convicted of first-degree murder in the October 2008 slayings of his wife and two children as an “evil, selfish human being” Thursday, Oakland Circuit Judge Nanci Grant sentenced him to mandatory life in prison with no chance of parole

Lakshminivasa Rao Nerusu, 46, was a fugitive for five years after the bodies of his 37-year-old wife, Jayalakshmi; a daughter, Tejasvi, 14, and a son, Siva Kumar, 12, were found inside their Novi home.

Before sentencing Nerusu, a visibly angry Grant said she had never been more disturbed by any murder case in 18 years as a judge. She said she believed Nerusu’s goal was to start a new life in India and decided to first “wipe out” his family. Grant said she felt for the victims and asked Nerusu if he was a practicing Hindu. When he said he was Grant said:

“I hope they (victims) return on a higher astral plane,” Grant said. “As far as reincarnation, I don’t know what you will come back as but your past deeds should reflect that ...”

Defense attorney Lawrence Kaluzny told Grant his client must have been mentally ill to commit the crimes and said he continues to believe there has been a conspiracy against him by his brothers, a former attorney and a state psychiatric center which found him mentally sound.

Nerusu, who pleaded insanity in the case, stabbed his wife 59 times and slashed the throats of his children when they returned home from school, according to investigators.

Nerusu testified he “blacked out” and had no recollection of the killings. Investigators said Nerusu, an unemployed computer software programmer with a master’s degree in mathematics, fled to India the day after the kilings. He surrendered to authorities there in February 2013.

Nerusu has had two forensic exams — one by state psychiatrists in September 2013 and an independent evaluation in February which found him mentally competent to stand trial.

Nerusu testified he had financial problems because of unemployment and lost more than $130,000 in the stock market. He said the situation caused friction with his wife, who criticized him and told him he needed psychiatric counseling because of his temper. He said his wife once called police on him because of behavioral problems when he was working in Chicago.

The victims were found inside their Novi home in late October 2008 after a relative called police, expressing concern because no one had been able to contact the family.

mmartindale@detroitnews.com

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