L.A. NOW

Southern California -- this just in

« Previous Post | L.A. NOW Home | Next Post »

Rockefeller impostor accused of killing man in 1985 goes on trial

Jose Perez, working for his father's swimming pool business, was digging into the backyard of a San Marino home in 1994 when he made a grisly discovery: human bones wrapped in plastic and buried several feet underground. 

The Sohuses in family photo.Nearly two decades after that discovery, German-born Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter is scheduled to stand trial for the death of John Sohus, whom authorities linked to the remains. The opening statements in Gerhartsreiter's trial are expected to begin Monday in Los Angeles County Superior Court.

Sohus and his wife, Linda, disappeared in 1985, leaving behind John's mother, with whom the couple had been living in San Marino. It was the family's former home where the remains were found in 1994.

PHOTOS: Clark Rockefeller investigation

Authorities say Gerhartsreiter, 52, is a con man with several aliases who, for years, posed as a man named Clark Rockefeller, a member of the billionaire family and New England high society.

In the 1980s, authorities say, Gerhartsreiter — using the name Christopher Chichester— lived in the Sohus' guest house. Shortly after the Sohuses disappeared, so, too, did Chicester.

Gerhartsreiter, using the Rockefeller name, was arrested in 2008 for kidnapping his 7-year-old daughter. He was convicted in Massachusetts in that case and extradited to California while serving a four- to five-year prison term. He was charged in 2011 in connection with John Sohus' death.

FULL COVERAGE: Rockefeller imposter on trial

During his preliminary hearing last year, Gerhartsreiter's defense attorneys asked a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge if they could continue to call him Clark Rockefeller since that was the name the attorneys knew him by. The judge denied the request.

Although Linda Sohus was never located, authorities have said they presume her to be dead.

Gerhartsreiter is in custody in Los Angeles in lieu of $10 million bail.

ALSO:

Grand jury investigates missing San Marino couple

Clark Rockefeller sentenced to 4 to 5 years in prison for kidnapping

L.A. prosecutors could be forced to act if Clark Rockefeller is freed in kidnapping

— Hailey Branson-Potts

twitter.com/haileybranson

Photo: The Sohuses in family photo.

 
Comments () | Archives (0)

Connect

Recommended on Facebook


Advertisement

In Case You Missed It...

Video

About L.A. Now
L.A. Now is the Los Angeles Times’ breaking news section for Southern California. It is produced by more than 80 reporters and editors in The Times’ Metro section, reporting from the paper’s downtown Los Angeles headquarters as well as bureaus in Costa Mesa, Long Beach, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Riverside, Ventura and West Los Angeles.
Have a story tip for L.A. Now?
Please send to newstips@latimes.com
Can I call someone with news?
Yes. The city desk number is (213) 237-7847.

Categories




Get Alerts on Your Mobile Phone

Sign me up for the following lists: