Rockefeller impostor on trial: Jury selection began in the murder trial of a German immigrant who assumed the name “Clark Rockefeller” at one time.
The murder trial for a man who assumed at least five identities, including as a member of the Rockefeller clan, went on trial this week for jury selection.
Christian Gerhartsreiter, a German immigrant, has been charged in the death of his neighbor in 1985 in Southern California.
He later took on the identities of at least five people, including the name “Clark Rockefeller.” Gerhartsreiter is currently serving time for kidnapping his young daughter during a custody dispute in Boston, and he was about ready to get out of prison until prosecutors linked him to the death of his neighbor, John Sohus, 27 years ago.
“He is upbeat and he’s looking for closure,” defense attorney Jeffrey Denner told The Associated Press this week. “He’s been in limbo with this case for so long. Of course he’d like it to be resolved in his favor.”
The prosecution’s case is based on a bag of bones that was found on the property where he and Gerhartsreiter used to live. Gerhartsreiter has pleaded not guilty.
“It’s our position that the state of California cannot prove that the defendant killed John Sohus,” Denner told AP.
Dr. Frank Sheridan, the chief medical examiner for San Bernardino County and a consultant in the case, said the victim suffered skull fractures and three forceful blows to the head, according to NBC News this week. The criminal complaint claims that Gerhartsreiter used a “blunt object” to kill Sohus.
Investigators believe that Gerhartsreiter took Sohus’ vehicle after he and his wife disappeared in 1985, according to NBC. The remains of his wife have never been found.
An ex-girlfriend of his said that she knew him as “Christopher Crowe,” and recalled that when he lost his job, she got a credit card for him with the name “Clark Rockefeller.”
“I wanted to change my life altogether,” he told NBC News in 2008, referring to the identity switch. “I just wanted to live an obscure life.”
He is being held on $10 million bail at the Los Angeles’ Men’s Central Jail.
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