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Phony Rockefeller heir to face murder charges in L.A. this week

July 6, 2011 |  1:59 pm


A German-born man whose multiple aliases have included that of a Rockefeller family scion is headed to California to face charges in connection with the 1985 killing of his San Marino landlord, Los Angeles sheriff's officials said Wednesday.

Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter, who has called himself Clark Rockefeller, is currently serving a sentence of up to five years in a Massachusetts prison in connection with the custodial kidnapping of his daughter. He was picked up in Boston by Los Angeles County sheriff's detectives and brought back to California on Wednesday and will be arraigned Friday, sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore said.

"His bail has been set at $10 million," Whitmore said.

In March, Los Angeles County prosecutors charged Gerhartsreiter with one count of murder in the death of Jonathan Sohus, a 26-year-old computer programmer who mysteriously disappeared with his wife, Linda.

Jonathan Sohus' remains were discovered in 1994 in the backyard of his home on Lorain Avenue, whose guest house Gerhartsreiter had rented in the 1980s under the name Christopher Chichester.

After the disappearance of the San Marino couple, Gerhartsreiter reportedly told Jonathan Sohus' mother that the couple were going to work for a European aircraft company that his family owned.

Investigators said he later tried to sell the couple's truck in Connecticut before assuming another identity and disappearing.

Off authorities' radar for years, Gerhartsreiter suddenly resurfaced in 2008 in connection with the kidnapping of his 7-year-old daughter on a Boston-area street. At the time, police linked Gerhartsreiter's fingerprints to the San Marino case.


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-- Andrew Blankstein (Twitter: anblanx)

Photo: Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter in Boston court. Credit: Associated Press