(WXYZ) - One year after the FBI brought accused killer Lakshminivasa Nerusu back to metro Detroit, he took the stand in his own defense.
Nerusu fled to India after Novi Police say he slit his wife's throat and killed his son and daughter in the same gruesome fashion at their home back in October of 2008.
It was October 2008, in the heart of the time now known as the "Great Recession." Lakshminivasa Nerusu, a mathematician who at times had jobs that paid $100/hour, was unemployed. The stock market crashed and he lost more than $100,000 in savings. His car was repossessed. He could barely afford to pay for an apartment in Novi for his wife and two children.
Nerusu says he was drinking, smoking, depressed and broke.
One morning, after his kids went to school in Walled Lake, he told his wife he wanted to move back to India.
She told him she didn’t want to move back to India.
As he testified in court Tuesday, Nerusu said he remembered the discussion turning into a fight. He hit his wife. Thirty-seven-year-old Jayalakshmi Nerusu moved to call police. He said he moved quickly to stop her.
Attorneys asked him what happened next as he took the stand.
“I do not know,” said Nerusu.
Nerusu testified that he was insane, remembered nothing, would never in his right mind kill the family he loved.
“You don’t remember stabbing your wife 59 times?” asked Prosecuting Attorney Tricia Dare.
“No,” said Nerusu.
He admitted that he believed he committed the crimes after seeing the evidence that he stabbed his wife, his 14-year-old daughter Tejasvi Nerusu, and 12-year old son Siva Kumar Nerusu, then fled the country. He then testified that he was not guilty.
“I was not in my right mind.”
Nerusu seems to be hoping an insanity plea will earn him mercy.
When asked why he turned himself in, he did not talk about regret. He did not talk about justice. He talked about living in poverty in India.
“I have a master’s degree. I don’t know how to live like that,” said Nerusu.
An expert later took the stand and testified that Nerusu is not insane. There are no experts expected to back him up.
Jury deliberations could start as soon as Wednesday after testimony from the medical examiner on the case.