Man robs bank near San Marino

A man fled on foot with an undisclosed amount of cash Wednesday after robbing a bank in an unincorporated county area just outside of San Marino, authorities said.
The robbery was reported about 9:10 a.m. at the Wachovia Bank branch at Huntington Drive and San Gabriel Boulevard, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Tom McNeal said.
No weapons were seen during the robbery, which was carried out by a white or light-skinned Latino man in his early 20s, about 5 feet 8 inches tall and about 240 pounds, the lieutenant said. He wore a burgundy hooded sweat shirt with the words “Morehouse College” written on it, a gray beanie with ear flaps and baggy gray sweat pants.
After demanding money from a teller, the robber was last seen fleeing the area on foot, McNeal said.
Anyone with information is asked to call the sheriff’s Temple Station.

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San Marino bank robbed

SAN MARINO — A masked bank robber escaped, though apparently empty-handed, following a heist at a San Marino bank branch Friday, officials said.
The crime was reported about 11:45 a.m. at Chase Bank, 2270 Huntington Drive, San Marino police Officer Tim Tebbetts said in a written statement. The bank is located next door to the police station, and was previously robbed on Jan. 30.
The robber was described as a black man, about 5 feet 10 inches tall, weighing about 160 pounds, police said. He wore dark blue ski mask, a black sweat shirt, blue jeans, black shoes and black gloves.
He jumped over the counter at the bank and helped himself to all the cash in one of the tellers’ drawers, Tebbetts said.
No weapon was seen, officials added.
Police said the robber was last seen running south from the bank.
A bag of money apparently abandoned by the suspect was located nearby, Tebbetts said, however the robberwas not found.

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More from Boston: Rockefeller lawyers want convictions dismissed

From the Associated Press:

BOSTON — Lawyers for the man who calls himself Clark Rockefeller are asking a Boston judge to throw out his kidnapping and assault convictions.
The defense is challenging the credibility of the state’s mental health expert. They also fault the prosecutor for telling jurors not to allow Rockefeller to pull off the “culminating manipulation” — an insanity defense.
Rockefeller is a German man whose real name is Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter. He was convicted earlier this month in the kidnapping of his 7-year-old daughter and the assault of a social worker.
His lawyers claim the state’s expert was not qualified to testify about whether Gerhartsreiter was legally insane because he gave the wrong definition for criminal responsibility to the jury.
California authorities have identified him as a “person of interest” in the 1985 disappearance and presumed slayings of a newlywed couple from San Marino. A grand jury is investigating the case.

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Dateline NBC focuses on San Marino mystery

I’ll be on Dateline NBC tonight at 7 p.m.

The show will devote an hour to the mystery of John and Linda Sohus.

The couple disappeared in 1985 from their home on Lorain Road.

Clark Rockefeller, 48, whose real name is Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter, has been identified as a person of interest in the case. Using the name Christopher Chichester, Rockefeller lived with the Sohuses and vanished several weeks after they did.

Too bad the show goes head-to-head with the Laker game…

Here’s an excerpt from a September episode on the case:

Visit for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

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Notes from the Rockefeller case

Clark Rockefeller has been found guilty on two of four counts in his parental abduction trial. Rockefeller, whose real name is Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter, will be sentenced later this morning.

So far the jury has issued a statement, as have other officials.

Here’s what Suffolk County DA Spokesman Jake Wark wrote following the verdicts this a.m.:

In a complete rejection of his insanity defense, jurors convicted GERHARTSREITER of custodial kidnapping and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon. Jurors acquitted him outright — that is, not for lack of criminal responsibility — on charges of providing a false name to police and assault and battery.  Judge Gaziano will sentence the defendant at 2:00 pm in courtroom 906.

As for the jruors, a panel of four men and eight women. They’ve issued a joint statement. Here’s what it said:


Continue reading

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Deliberation continues in Rockefeller kidnapping case

From the Associated Press:

BOSTON — Jurors deliberating kidnapping charges against the man who calls himself Clark Rockefeller asked a judge Wednesday to explain what prosecutors must do to show he was legally sane when he took his 7-year-old daughter.
The jurors sent a written question to Judge Frank Gaziano on Wednesday morning asking if prosecutors have to show either that he knew what he was doing was criminal or that he knew it was morally wrong.
Gaziano told them it is not enough for prosecutors to prove one of those things; they must show both.
The question appeared to show that jurors, who have been deliberating since Monday, are struggling with the legal definition of insanity.
Defense lawyers say Rockefeller, whose real name is Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter, was delusional and legally insane when he fled to Baltimore with his daughter, Reigh, during a supervised visit in Boston last July after he lost custody of the girl to his ex-wife.
A psychiatrist who testified for the defense said Gerhartsreiter believed his daughter was
communicating with him telepathically and telling him she needed to be rescued.
Prosecutors call his insanity claim “preposterous” and say he is a con man who planned the kidnapping for months. A prosecution psychiatrist said Gerhartsreiter was not delusional and appeared to exaggerate his symptoms.
Gerhartsreiter, 48, is accused of snatching his daughter during his first visit with the girl after his December 2007 divorce.
He also faces two assault charges for allegedly pushing a social worker overseeing the visit to the ground and instructing his hired driver to “Go! Go! Go!” while the social worker grabbed onto the car door. The social worker suffered minor injuries.
The German-born Gerhartsreiter is also charged with providing a false name to police.
During the trial, several witnesses testified about elaborate tales Gerhartsreiter told during the three decades he has lived in the United States, including his claims of being a physicist, ship’s captain and debt negotiator for small countries.
Prosecutors say he used multiple aliases — including the famous Rockefeller name — to ingratiate himself in wealthy circles in New York, Boston and Los Angeles.
California authorities have labeled him a “person of interest” in the 1985 disappearance and presumed slayings of a San Marino couple, Jonathan and Linda Sohus. Gerhartsreiter, who then went by the name Christopher Chichester, was living in a guest house on the family’s property when they disappeared. A grand jury has been hearing evidence in the case. He has said he had nothing to do with their disappearance.

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Notes from the trial of “Clark Rockefeller”

I’ve been catching as much coverage of the trial as possible on television, and the witness testimony all seems to have a common thread — Rockefeller’s a liar.

But there are some other interesting glimpses as well. Vanity Fair reporter Mark Seal offered some insight Wednesday with these observations:

He seems relaxed and subdued, really. Not crazed.

Suffolk County DA spokesman Jake Wark has been doing some writing of his own with lively press releases. Here’s an excerpt from today’s media memo, following the testimony of Sandra Boss, Rockefeller’s ex:

Cross-examination of GERHARTSREITER’s second ex-wife is expected to take place tomorrow morning. For planning purposes, his first ex-wife and an FBI print examiner may take the stand thereafter, but this is not set in stone.

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Clark Rockefeller: ready to stand trial

Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter, aka Clark Rockefeller, stands trial Tuesday morning in Boston on charges stemming from the abduction of his daughter Reigh “Snooks” Boss last summer.

What happens after that is anybody’s guess. The Los Angeles County District Attorney has convened a grand jury looking into allegations that Rockefeller was once Christopher Chichester, lived in San Marino and was the last person to see John and Linda Sohus alive.
The couple vanished in 1985 without a trace. Bones found in the backyard of the Lorain Road home where they lived surfaced in 1994, and they are believed to be those of John Sohus.
Here’ some of the stories cooking on the wire this Memorial Day afternoon:
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Rockefeller/Chichester trial to start Tuesday

This from Suffolk County DA spokesman Jake Wark:

BOSTON, May 22, 2009–The defendant formerly known as “Clark Rockefeller” will go to trial next week, 10 months after he allegedly abducted his daughter from the heart of Boston’s tony Back Bay and led investigators on a manhunt that ended in Maryland but sparked international curiosity as to his true identity.
Jury selection in the trial of CHRISTIAN KARL GERHARTSREITER (D.O.B. 2/21/61), a native of West Germany who most recently lived across from the Boston Public Garden, is scheduled to begin Tuesday. He is charged with parental kidnapping for the July 27, 2008, incident in which he absconded with his daughter, then 7, during a post-divorce visitation supervised by an independent social worker.
Under Massachusetts law, kidnapping a minor relative is a felony punishable by up to five years in state prison.
In addition to that lead charge, Gerhartsreiter is also accused of three additional offenses: assault and battery for allegedly shoving the social worker as he hustled his daughter into a waiting sport-utility vehicle driven by an unwitting accomplice; assault and battery with a dangerous weapon – the SUV – for instructing that driver to “go” as the social worker clung to the door handle and fell to the ground, suffering minor injuries; and furnishing a false name to police after his Aug. 2 arrest in Baltimore.
The latter charge, developed in the course of a far-reaching investigation in the Suffolk County Special Grand Jury, reflects the defendant’s identification of himself as “Clark Rockefeller” during an interview with Boston Police detectives and special agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Under Massachusetts law, providing a false name to police for a dishonest purpose carries a one-year jail term.
Gerhartsreiter made off with the young girl shortly before 1:00 on the third day of their first visit following his December 2007 divorce from the child’s mother. The driver who chauffeured them from the scene was allegedly told in advance that the court-ordered social worker monitoring the visit was a “clingy” acquaintance from whom they would have to make a quick escape.
Gerhartsreiter allegedly instructed the driver to drop them off at Massachusetts General Hospital, from where he took a taxi to the Boston Sailing Center. There he met a second unwitting confederate he had promised $500 for a ride to New York City under the pretense of making a Long Island boat launch by 8:00. During the course of that ride, prosecutors say, Gerhartsreiter prevented the driver from using her phone – and learning of the Amber Alert that followed the child’s abduction – by secretly turning it off and overtly telling her not to use it.
From New York, Gerhartreiter made his way to Baltimore, where he had earlier purchased a home with cashier’s checks. He had allegedly identified himself as “Charles Smith” to his realtor and assigned a false name to his daughter as well. On Aug. 1, the realtor recognized Gerhartsreiter from media reports of the abduction and notified the FBI. That notice led rapidly to Gerhartsreiter’s arrest and his daughter’s rescue.
Gerhartsreiter was returned to Boston, arraigned in the Boston Municipal Court on Aug. 5, and ordered held without bail. Following his indictment by the Special Grand Jury, a Suffolk Superior Court clerk magistrate set bail in the amount of $50,000,000; a Superior Court judge later revoked that bail at prosecutors’ request. The defendant has remained in custody since his arrest.
Jury selection is expected to last at least one full day and possibly several days. There will be no court proceedings on May 29. Once a panel of deliberating and alternate jurors is selected, an estimated 10 to 15 days of testimony are expected to follow.
Assistant District Attorney David Deakin, chief of District Attorney Daniel F. Conley’s Family Protection and Sexual Assault Bureau, led the grand jury investigation and is prosecuting the case. Gerhartsreiter is represented by attorneys Jeffrey Denner and Timothy Bradl. Judge Frank Gaziano is presiding over the case in courtroom 906 of the Suffolk County Courthouse, located at Three Pemberton Square in Boston.

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Rockefeller motion to move trial denied in Boston

Clark Rockefeller’s attorneys are worried that pre-trial publicity linking him to the disappearance of John and Linda Sohus from San Marino way back in 1985 might prejudice a jury in Boston.

But a judge in Suffolk County Monday denied a motion by those attorneys seekign a change fo venue.


a copy

of Judge Frank M. Gaziano’s ruling:


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