Rockefeller impostor in hearing for 1985 San Marino murder

January 18, 2012

For three decades, the man Boston and Manhattan's elite knew as Clark Rockefeller was a chameleon, changing his name and blending into East and West Coast high society until, amid a messy custody dispute, he abducted his daughter.

His subsequent arrest in 2008 and conviction in Massachusetts revealed a life of identities for the German-born Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter and, more important, connected him to a killing in San Marino.

In early 1980s, he was Chris Chichester, a film producer claiming to be a relative of Lord Mountbatten living in a San Marino guest house. His landlady's son and daughter, John and Linda Sohus, mysteriously disappeared in 1985 and he quickly vanished.

PHOTOS: Clark Rockefeller investigation

Los Angeles County prosecutors will seek Wednesday to persuade a judge there is sufficient evidence for Gerhartsreiter to go on trial for the killing of 26-year-old John Sohus, who also was known as Jonathan.

Key to that allegation will be skeletal remains found in the home's backyard in 1994 when a new homeowner was building a swimming pool.

Authorities say those remains are the missing San Marino man. At the time the skeleton was discovered, DNA technology was too primitive to definitively identify it as the remains of Sohus until last year. Complicating the investigation was the fact that Sohus was adopted.

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-- Richard Winton, Los Angeles Times

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