OREGON CITY, Ore. — A woman who identified herself as the wife of murder suspect Erik Meiser says she is Jewish and he is no longer a neo-Nazi.
Kiva Gerber, 27, of California said that she and Meiser have two children they are raising Jewish.
“We are registered with a temple,” Gerber said. “We celebrated Passover at our house. We had a Seder.”
Meiser, 37, has been charged with aggravated murder in the Sept. 17 stabbing death of 57-year-old Fritz Hayes, who discovered a burglar in his Lake Oswego home when he returned from a walk with his wife.
Investigators said a machete with Meiser’s fingerprints and the victim’s blood was found in a nearby driveway.
The killing triggered a five-day manhunt that spanned the West Coast. The authorities described Meiser as having white-supremacist tattoos, and displayed a photo of one on his knuckles that spells out “Neo Nazi.”
Gerber said Meiser has covered up the tattoos. Defense attorney Jennifer Cooke, in court Friday, said media references to Meiser as a white supremacist could affect her client’s ability to get a fair trial.
Meiser appeared via video at a hearing to hear the charges against him. He is expected to enter pleas at an Oct. 22 hearing.
His attorneys requested the extra time partly, they said, because of concerns about Meiser’s mental fitness to help in his own defense.
Meiser has an arrest record that spans nine states and more than 20 years. Authorities in Utah have an arrest warrant for Meiser that accuses him of aggravated assault at a bus stop on Sept. 8. Ogden police said the victim’s face was “severely slashed” with a razor-style knife.
Although Gerber identified herself as Meiser’s wife, she declined to say when they were married and wouldn’t discuss Meiser’s past or the accusations against him. Asked if she planned to come to Oregon, she said, “I don’t know. I love him.”