Fake Rockefeller to Face Real Trial in 1985 Murder Case

A German national who lived for years in various areas of the U.S. and passed himself off repeatedly as a member of the wealthy Rockefeller family wasn’t scrutinized for decades in the disappearance of his then-landlady’s son in 1985.

But once “Clark Rockefeller”—who is in fact Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter, 51—hit the headlines in a 2008 child-kidnapping case concerning his own daughter, other issues also arose for him. The skeletal body of John Sohus had been found in 1994 in San Marino, Calif. And, as a parental kidnapping case was pursued against Gerhartsreiter in 2009, it was reported that he was also being investigated in Sohus’ apparent murder. Both Sohus and his wife, who disappeared around the same time as her husband, in Feb. 1985, but has never been found, lived on the same San Marino property on which Gerhartsreiter, who was then known as Christopher Chichester, had been living in the guest house.

Now Gerhartsreiter, who was convicted of parental kidnapping in 2009 in Massachusetts, faces a murder trial in California, reports the Pasadena Star-News.

Defense lawyers are working to exclude certain potential evidence against their client, and a Los Angeles Superior Court judge agreed that most of what Gerhartsreiter told an FBI agent and a police officer in Boston after his 2008 arrest is not admissible. However, statements he made to the Boston Globe and an NBC correspondent can be used.

The defense is expected to argue that Linda Sohus killed her husband, John, in 1985, not their client. Gerhartsreiter’s trial is now scheduled for March.

Additional and related coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “Cops Probe Mystery of Wealthy Dad’s ID in Child Kidnapping Case”

ABAJournal.com: “‘Crockefeller’ Charged with Murder re 1985 Disappearance of Calif. Couple”

ABAJournal.com: “‘Crockefeller’ to Court: My Ex-Lawyer Said Too Much to the Media”

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