Rockefeller impostor trial: closing arguments end, deliberations to follow


Prosecutors depict Christian Gerhartsreiter as a master manipulator who killed his landlady's son in San Marino. The defense however, admits he may have some wild stories but says he is no murderer. Day one of closing arguments wrapped up Monday.

The man on trial here is a man who posed as a Rockefeller, a man who went to prison for kidnapping his daughter during a custody dispute. But now he stands accused of murdering his landlady's son in San Marino more than two decades ago.

Monday the jurors heard closing arguments from both sides.

Prosecutors say Gerhartsreiter is a cold-blooded killer. The defense maintains that the victim's wife is the likely killer.

Stoic and unemotional, Gerhartsreiter listened as prosecutors described how he killed his landlady's 27-year-old son then buried his body in his backyard. Deputy District Attorney Habib Balian says circumstantial evidence shows that Gerhartsreiter is responsible for the murder of the 27-year-old computer scientist.

But Gerhartsreiter's defense attorney, Jeffrey Denner, argued that his client never had any reason to commit the murder.

It's a mystery that dates back almost 30 years. John Sohus and his wife Linda were living with his mother at this house in San Marino. The newlyweds mysteriously vanished in 1985. Nine years later, a new owner who was building a swimming pool in the back yard discovered the remains of John Sohus buried in a shallow grave.

Gerhartsreiter was renting a guesthouse from the missing couple's mother. Prosecutors say the defendant killed Linda Sohus as well, but the defense says Linda is probably the killer.

Both sides were able to present closing arguments Monday, but rebuttals begin Tuesday at 9 a.m. The jury will likely begin deliberating before noon.

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