German man who posed as a Rockefeller convicted of murder | News | DW | 10.04.2013
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German man who posed as a Rockefeller convicted of murder

A German-born man, who posed as a member of America's wealthy Rockefeller family, has been found guilty of murder in California. He was convicted of the 1985 killing of his landlady's son after years on the run.

Defendant Christian Gerhartsreiter from Germany sits during jury selection for his murder trial at Los Angeles Superior Court in Los Angeles, California, March 15, 2013. Gerhartsreiter, the alleged Rockefeller impostor is accused of killing his landllord, John Sohus, in February 1985. REUTERS/Joe Klamar/POOL (UNITED STATES - Tags: CRIME LAW)

Christian Gerhartsreiter Verhandlung wegen Mordes USA ARCHIVBILD März 2013

Christian Gerhartsreiter, 52, was convicted of first degree murder on Wednesday, 28 years after Californian man John Sohus and his wife Linda went missing.

John Sohus' remains were found nine years later in 1994 in the backyard of his home in the upscale LA neighborhood of San Marino. With no trace of Linda's body found, Gerhartsreiter was only charged with one murder. He had been living in a guest house owned by Sohus' mother at the time of the newlyweds' disappearance.

The conman was known then a Chris Chichester, a fake English aristocrat of royal lineage, and was not connected to the murders.

He subsequently moved to Connecticut where he posed as various high-profile figures, including a Hollywood producer. He finally took on the pseudonym Clark Rockefeller, a ficticious member of the famous US dynasty, which he remained for 16 years, even fooling his wife.

His identity was unraveled in 2009 when he was arrested for the kidnapping of his seven-year-old daughter following a bitter divorce case.

The trial ultimately led investigators in Los Angeles to connect him to the Sohus murder case.

Gerhartsreiter faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.

ccp/jr (AFP, dpa, Reuters)