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:
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.
This from the Boston Globe:
Police searching the Quincy apartment of Philip Markoff found underwear from two of the victims in the Craigslist attacks and a handgun hidden in a hollowed-out copy of the medical textbook Gray’s Anatomy of the Human Body, according to a law enforcement official with knowledge of the investigation.
The underpants were described as “mementos” from the crimes, according to another law enforcement official, who also spoke on the condition of anonymity. It was not known from which victims the garments were taken, the officials said. Investigators are testing the gun to determine whether the semi-automatic weapon was used to fatally shoot a 26-year-old masseuse last week at the Boston Marriott Copley Place.
Markoff, 23, is a Boston University medical school student whopleaded not guilty yesterdayto charges stemming from attacks against two women in posh Back Bay hotels. Police in Warwick, R.I., say a prostitute who also advertised on Craigslist was attacked in a hotel there last Thursday,but Markoff has not been charged with that crime. No new victims have come forward so far, one of the law enforcement officials said today.
Authorities have said that his alleged crimes may have been motivated by a gambling problem and a desire to dominate his victims.