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Rockefeller impostor sentenced to 27 years to life in prison

August 15, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
The man who tried to pass himself off as a member of the Rockefeller family was sentenced Thursday to 27 years to life in prison for the 1985 murder of John Sohus in San Marino.

Christian Gerhartsreiter was convicted in April of first-degree murder using both blunt and sharp objects as weapons. The jury deliberated for only six hours to reach the verdict.

Prosecutors depicted Gerhartsreiter as a lying, scheming con-man who bludgeoned and stabbed his landlady's son, John Sohus, in San Marino 28 years ago. A motive for the killing is still undetermined.

John and Linda Sohus vanished in February 1985. Nine years later, workers building a swimming pool found the remains of John Sohus buried in his own backyard. Linda Sohus has never resurfaced, and defense attorneys argued that she was the real killer. Jurors did not agree.

"I would like, once again, to re-assert my innocence and would like to definitively state that I did not commit the crime of which I stand convicted," he said at his sentencing hearing.

Gerhartsreiter fired his attorneys after the conviction and represented himself at the sentencing. The judge denied his request for a new trial.

The victim's younger sister, Ellen Sohus, addressed the court during the hearing.

"So many questions remain unanswered. Why did you kill my brother? What happened to Linda? I believe Linda is dead, and you are responsible for her death," she said.

Linda Sohus' body was never found, and Gerhartsreiter was not charged in her disappearance. But friends and family of the Sohus's are not shy to point the finger at the 52-year-old con artist.


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