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.

Here’s

a copy

of Judge Frank M. Gaziano’s ruling:

 

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Call him Clark or nothing at all

Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter wants to be called Clark Rockefeller at his upcoming trial in Boston on charges of parental abduction. Speaking at a pre-trial hearing in the case, which goes to court on May 26, Rockefeller’s attorney Jeffery Denner said, “We take the position his name is Clark Rockefeller.

Rockefeller, 48, has been named by Los Angeles authorities in the 1985 disappearance of John and Linda Sohus from their home in San Marino. Here’s the latest from the Boston Globe:

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Defense attorney Jeffrey Denner indicated today in Suffolk Superior Court that he will try to block prosecutors from referring to his client as Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter. In the last pre-trial hearing before jury selection starts on May 26, Denner told the judge that he wanted to find a way to refer to his client as Rockefeller during the proceeding.

“We take the position that his name is Clark Rockefeller,” Denner said.

The grand jury indictment, which includes a charge of giving police a fake name, referred to the defendant as Gerhartsreiter. Authorities allege that Rockefeller is one of a string of aliases used by Gerhartsreiter since moving to the United States from his native Germany as an exchange student in the 1970s. California authorities have labeled him a “person of interest” in the disappearance of a San Marino couple in the 1980s. He has not been charged with a crime in that case.

Suffolk Superior Court Judge Frank Gaziano ordered today that attorneys on both sides file final motions and paperwork in the case by May 18. The trial is scheduled to start May 26.

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Clark Rockefeller wants his case moved out of Boston

From the Boston Herald:



BOSTON — A lawyer for a man who calls himself Clark Rockefeller argued Wednesday that his client’s parental kidnapping trial should be moved from Boston to western Massachusetts because extensive media coverage has tainted the jury pool.
A survey done for the defense found that more than three-quarters of respondents in Suffolk County — where potential jurors would be culled — said they were aware of the case. Of those, roughly half said they believed he was guilty.
“That’s a staggeringly high figure, even for a high-profile case,” said Jeffrey Denner, an attorney for the man whose real name is Christian Karl Gerhartstreiter.

Rockefeller is the subject of a Los Angeles County Grand Jury probe into the disappearance of John and Linda Sohus, a San Marino couple, in 1985.

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Grand jury to hear evidence in San Marino mystery

I just posted this story online. Essentially, LA County has opened a grand jury look into the 1985 disappearance of John and Linda Sohus and the 1994 discovery of bones in a San Marino backyard.

LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office has convened a grand jury investigation into the 1985 disappearance and possible murder of a San Marino couple, officials said Tuesday.

Clark Rockefeller, 48, facing trial in Boston in connection with the abduction of his daughter last July, has been named a person of interest in the disappearance of John and Linda Sohus 24 years ago.

The case became a homicide investigation in May 1994. It was then that bones, believed to be those of John Sohus, turned up in the back yard of the home the couple shared with Rockefeller, then known as Christopher Chichester.

Attorney Jeffrey Denner, who is representing Rockefeller, did not return a phone call seeking comment Tuesday.

DA spokeswoman Sandi Gibbons said she could neither confirm nor deny that a grand jury had been impaneled in the case. “Those proceedings are secret,” Gibbons said.

At least two handwriting experts have been asked to submit materials for the inquiry, which is being handled by Deputy District Attorney Catherine Brough of the Major Crimes Division, said a source close to the investigation, who asked not to be identified.

One of those experts, Sheila Lowe, said Tuesday she has been asked to submit materials, including a handwriting analysis chart she prepared for this newspaper.

“I have given lots of opinions before and never been called to testify before a grand jury,” Lowe said. “It was quite a surprise.”

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Clark Rockefeller back in court Friday

He got more gold coins returned, now Clark Rockefeller hopes a judge will allow him to present an insanity defense in the kidnapping of his daughter Reigh “Snooks” Boss, this past summer.

Rockefeller, aka Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter, aka Christopher Chichester, will make an appearance in Suffolk County Court Friday, according to Jake Wark, a spokesman for the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office.

“It’s a hearing on his potential use of an insanity defense,” Wark said.

A doctor who examined Rockefeller’s mental state will testify in court, officials said.

Rockefeller has been named as a person of interest in the 1985 disappearance of John and Linda Sohus, a San Marino couple. In 1994, bones were discovered in the backyard of the Sohuses home on Lorain Road. Those bones are believed to belong to John Sohus, although no positive identification has ever been made.

 

 

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Deportation for Rockefeller?*

This from the Boston Herald, via the Associated Press:

BOSTON — A lawyer for the man who calls himself Clark Rockefeller says the German native could face deportation.

Jeffrey Denner, the attorney for the man authorities say is really Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter, told the Boston Globe Friday that federal immigration officials have filed legal papers seeking to turn him over for possible deportation if he is convicted of kidnapping. Removal would take place after any possible sentence.

Prosecutors are considering a prison term of four-and-a-half to five years if Gerhartsreiter agrees to plead guilty to kidnapping his 7-year-old daughter.

*Rockefeller is due back in court tomorrow, accordign to Jake Wark, spokesman for the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office. Here’s a copy of his press release:

The defendant formerly known as CLARK ROCKEFELLER will return to Suffolk Superior Court tomorrow in connection with his pending parental kidnapping case. CHRISTIAN KARL GERHARTSTREITER (D.O.B. 2/21/61) is charged with that offense as well as counts of providing a false name to police, assault and battery, and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon.  The proceedings are expected tomorrow at 3:00 on the ninth floor of the courthouse.

 

 

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Bank robberies galore

Local bank have experienced a wave of unauthorized withdrawls in recent days, as banks in Alhambra, San Marino and La Canada Flintridge were robbed Thursday and Friday.

In the case of Alhambra, it was the third robbery of the month.  A serial robber known as the Grizzly Adams Bandit visited a local bank twice on Jan. 6 and Jan. 26.

In San Marino, the bank robbed Friday shared a driveway with the San Marino Police Department.

In La Canada Flintridge, after robbing a bank, the same robber is believed to have robbed a pharmacy of prescription drugs about an hour later.

 

 

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