Christian Gerhartsreiter, a man who once posed as an heir to the Rockefeller fortune, has been found guilty of first-degree murder by a California jury. After one day of deliberation the jury found the prosecution’s case compelling enough to convict Mr. Gerhartsreiter of the murder of John Sohus, who in 1985 disappeared alongside his wife Linda. While the prosecution relyed strictly on circumstantial evidence, on the other hand, Mr. Gerhartsreiter’s defense attempted to blame the victim’s wife Linda Sohus, who has never been found.
In the 1980s Mr. Gerhartsreiter, who then used the name Chris Chichester, was a tenant living on the Sohus’ San Marino property when the couple vanished. Interestingly, after the case turned cold for nine years Mr. Sohus’s remains were found by a construction crew who was attempting to install a swimming pool on the property. According to the prosecution, witnesses testified claiming that around the same time that both Mr. and Mrs. Sohus disappeared, Mr. Gerhartsreiter began using different aliases in an attempt to evade authorities on the East Coast. One of the key pieces of evidence for the prosecution was the fact that Mr. Gerhartsreiter arrived on the East Coast (Connecticut) in the Sohus’s vehicle.
While the defense held that it was Mrs. Sohus that killed her husband, at trial the prosecution presented a detailed timeline of Mr. Gerhartsreiter’s life after leaving Southern California telling jurors that all the evidence pointed to Mr. Gerhartsreiter not the newly wed bride, Linda Sohus.
Mr. Gerhartsreiter now faces anywhere from 27 years to life in prison on the murder conviction.
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