Fake Rockefeller Guilty of Murder

Con man Gerhartsreiter convicted of 30-year-old slaying

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 10, 2013 2:38 PM CDT

(Newser) – The German con man who passed himself off for years as a fake Rockefeller along with several other hoity-toity identities couldn't talk his way out of this one: A California jury today convicted him of murdering his landlady's adult son nearly 30 years ago, reports the Los Angeles Times. Jurors found that Christian Gerhartsreiter, who then went by the name Christopher Chichester, killed John Sohus and buried his body behind the guest house where Gerhartsreiter was living. Gerhartsreiter remains a suspect in the disappearance of Sohus' wife.

After the killing, prosecutors say Gerhartsreiter left the state and assumed various other identities, a path that culminated with him taking the name Clark Rockefeller in Boston and gaining entry to the upper echelons of New England society, reports the Boston Globe. It all fell apart when he was arrested for kidnapping his own 7-year-old daughter in 2008, and authorities discovered that "Clark Rockefeller" didn't really exist.

This Monday April 8, 2013, file photo shows Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter listening to final arguments at his trial in Los Angeles.
This Monday April 8, 2013, file photo shows Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter listening to final arguments at his trial in Los Angeles.   (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes,File)
Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter, center, with his attorney Bradford Bailey, left arrives for opening statements in his trial last month.
Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter, center, with his attorney Bradford Bailey, left arrives for opening statements in his trial last month.   (AP Photo/Nick Ut)
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