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Staged Crash Doesn´t Fool Jury

A former Lake Tahoe-area man has been convicted of killing his wife by staging a wreck near a ski resort four years ago. A county jury in Reno found Peter Bergna guilty this afternoon of first-degree murder.

Bergna sat at the defense table shaking his head as the jurors were polled. He was handcuffed and taken immediately into custody and faces up to life in prison.

Bergna´s first trial ended in November with a hung jury that was leaning nine-to-three toward convicting him in the death of his wife, Rinette Riella-Bergna.

Prosecutors accused Bergna of staging the wreck and jumping free of his Ford pickup before his wife crashed 800 feet to her death near the Mount Rose Ski Resort southwest of Reno.

Bergna claimed the brakes failed. He telephoned 911 from the side of the cliff with a cell phone he had in his pocket.