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Charades are over for Rockefeller Impostor

Published on NewsOK Modified: April 11, 2013 at 3:06 am •  Published: April 11, 2013

Juror Salvador Ruiz, a retired truck driver, said the panel's first two votes were split 10-2 in favor of conviction. When the panel reconvened on Wednesday, the two dissenters agreed with the majority.

Ruiz said jurors discussed the fact that Linda Sohus remains missing, and he suggested that authorities should encourage Gerhartsreiter to lead them to her body.

Denner and Brad Bailey, his partner on the defense team, said their client maintains he knows nothing about the woman's disappearance. They suggested that Linda Sohus, not their client, killed her husband, but no evidence was provided to prove that theory.

Superior Court Judge George Lomeli set sentencing for June 26.

Prosecutors did not pursue the death penalty, so Gerhartsreiter could face a maximum sentence of 25 years to life in prison for the murder conviction, plus two additional years because the jury also found that he personally used a blunt object and a sharp instrument as weapons.

His lawyers said he is looking forward to an appeal.

Prosecutors pieced together the defendant's history after he arrived in the ritzy Los Angeles suburb of San Marino. It was a story worthy of magazine articles, true crime books and TV movies.

He was known back then as Chris Chichester and intimated he was of royal lineage. He joined a church, befriended residents, and told some he was a film student.

A friend said Linda Sohus once described the tenant in her mother-in-law's cottage as creepy and said she and her husband never spoke to him.

Residents didn't connect Gerhartsreiter with the 1985 disappearance of the Sohus couple. They were never seen again and he vanished soon after they did.

Across the country, a man variously known as Chris Crowe, Chip Smith and Clark Rockefeller was inventing new lives for himself.

This impostor wormed his way into high society and talked his way into important jobs. He married a wealthy woman and controlled her funds, but his identity unraveled when he kidnapped their daughter during a custody dispute.

The resulting publicity led California authorities to revisit the Sohus disappearance. They realized the man in custody in Boston was not Clark Rockefeller but was the man who had lived in San Marino decades ago. And they looked again at the bag of bones that had been found under the former Sohus home in 1994.

Already serving time in Boston for the kidnapping of his young daughter, Gerhartsreiter was close to the end of his sentence and headed for freedom when he was charged with murder.