'Clark Rockefeller' Impostor Found Guilty of 1985 Murder
Following just about a day of deliberations, jurors have found Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter, the 52-year-old con man who once passed himself off as a member of the wealthy Rockefeller family, guilty of the 1985 killing of San Marino resident John Sohus.Gerhartsreiter, "a cultured poseur," was charged in 2011 Los Angeles with one count of murder, though the victim's wife, Linda Sohus, also went missing at the time of her husband's death. Because the body of Linda Sohus has never been recovered, prosecutors could not sufficiently charge Gerhartsreiter with her murder.
Also in 2011, Gerhartsreiter pleaded not guilty to the killing.
The strange story surfaced in the media in 2008, when Gerhartsreiter, then living as Clark Rockefeller, was arrested in Boston for kidnapping his daughter.
The kidnapping case shattered Gerhartsreiter's double life, and dregs from the suspect's past surfaced, including his affiliation with the Sohuses of San Marino. Over the years Gerhartsreiter adapted a number of aliases. He was originally Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter, a German exchange student living off wealthy families in Connecticut in the early 1980s, then next heard of as a runaway teen husband in Wisconsin (got his green card off that one) and later as a Wall St. bond trader named Christopher Crowe. Then he was involved in the San Marino case as Christopher Chichester and finally as Clark Rockefeller in the Boston kidnapping case.
At the time of John Sohus' death, Gerhartsreiter lived in a guest house on the Sohus property at 1920 Lorain Road. Sohus' buried remains were uncovered there in May 1994 by an excavation crew preparing to build a swimming pool on the property for a new
During the course of the trial, the jury was allowed to hear that Gerhartsreiter was also suspected of killing Linda, despite the lack of charges associated directly with her disappearance and presumed death.
In his closing argument, defense attorney Jeffrey Denner told jurors that Gerhartsreiter would have to be "one of the stupidest murderers in the history of Southern California" if he killed John Sohus, according to City News Service.
Prosecutors straight up called Gerhartsreiter a murderer.
Gerhartsreiter is facing 27 years to life in prison when he returns June 26 for sentencing before Superior Court Judge George G. Lomeli, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's office.
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