'Clark Rockefeller' Trial: Epic Con Man Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter Facing Murder Charge

The infamous and maniacal “Clark Rockefeller”, convicted of abducting his daughter in Boston in 2008, appeared in a California court on Monday on charges that he murdered John Sohus in 1985. “Rockefeller” is one of many aliases for the German national whose real name is Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter. Gerhartsreiter made national headlines in 2008 not only for kidnapping, but also for his elaborate cons that “allowed him to mingle in high society.”  At the time of his arrest for kidnapping, Gerharsreiter was pretending to be a member of the wealthy Rockefeller family

Gerhartsreiter came to the U.S. as a teenager for education and assumed a new identity shortly thereafter. Gerhartsreiter denies he his German and maintains that he is the son of Ann Carter, an American child actress from the 1940s, which Carter denies.  However, he admittedly married his first wife, Amy Jersild Duhnke, in order to obtain a green card so that he could stay in the United States. Duhnke filed for divorce in 1992 allowing Gerhartsreiter to marry Harvard Business School graduate Sandra Boss.  Gerhartsreiter was serving a four to five year sentence in Massachusetts for parental kidnapping and assault and battery with a deadly weapon, when California authorities charged him with the murder of John Sohus.                     

John and Linda Sohus disappeared after telling friends and family the government had recruited them for top-secret missions. After the Sohuses disappeared, family and friends received postcards from Paris, and John’s mother, Didi, began receiving calls from a “source” that would inform her of their whereabouts.  Gerhartsreiter was living in Didi’s guesthouse at the time of the murders. Nearly four years later, John’s missing pickup truck was found in Connecticut being sold by Christopher Chichester. Prosecutors allege Chichester, another one of Gerhartsreiter’s aliases, stole the truck after murdering Sohus in California and escaped to Connecticut. 

Defense attorneys argued on Monday that John Sohus was actually murdered by his wife Linda rather than “Rockefeller.”  However, Linda Sohus went missing at the time of her husband on February 8, 1985 and is presumed dead by authorities. John’s remains were not found until 1994 in his backyard when new homeowners began excavating for an in-ground pool. The remains had been dismembered and placed in a plastic bag with the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee logo used from 1979 to 1982, where Gerhartsreiter was a student at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 1981.