Rockefeller Impostor Wants to Represent Self

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LOS ANGELES—The Rockefeller impostor convicted recently of the cold-case murder of a California man asked Thursday to assume a new role as attorney representing himself for sentencing.

Christian Gerhartsreiter made a brief court appearance Thursday to lodge his request. His lawyers were on the phone from Boston.

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge George Lomeli took the request under submission and delayed sentencing from June 26 to Aug. 15.

A jury found that Gerhartsreiter, who lived briefly in California in the 1980s, killed John Sohus, a 27-year-old computer programmer who was the son of the defendant’s landlady. Sohus and his wife, Linda, vanished in 1985. No trace of her has been found.

The defendant went by many names, including Clark Rockefeller as he cut a swath through upper crust society on the west and east coasts in the years following the disappearance of the newlyweds.

On different occasions he billed himself as Chris Chichester, the 13th baronet of England, or Chris Crowe, a producer of an Alfred Hitchcock mystery TV show. He lived in tony neighborhoods of Connecticut and Manhattan, worked as a bonds trader on Wall Street and married a wealthy woman with whom he had a child. They divorced, and his identity unraveled when he kidnapped their daughter during a custody dispute.

The resulting publicity led authorities in San Marino, Calif., to revisit the Sohus disappearance and suspicion began to loom around the man who had lived in the cottage on the Sohus property in 1985.

Prosecutors did not pursue the death penalty, so Gerhartsreiter could face a maximum sentence of 25 years to life in prison for the murder conviction, plus two additional years because the jury also found that he used a blunt object and a sharp instrument as weapons.

His lawyers have said he is looking forward to an appeal.


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