Rockefeller gets a new attorney and wants his money back

Clark Rockefeller has hired a new lead defense attorney, Jeffrey Denner, of Boston. The move came earlier this week and may have gone unnoticed if Denner hadn’t asked for the FBI to return about $280 large in gold coins Rockefeller had in his possession when arrested.

That’s not the only Rockefeller news.

Los Angeles County investigators are seeking access to Rockefeller’s sealed divorce records in Suffolk County Probate Court. The Suffolk County DA has already taken a look at the papers, so it seems likely LA County will get their own look as well.

What might be in the papers in anyone’s guess.  One theory floating around is that Rockefeller confessed to his wife that he wasn’t Rockefeller — and she made note of that in the proceedings.

That could go to a consciousness of guilt in a homicide prosecution. As in, why else would he change his name?

The obvious defense is that Rockefeller had already assumed several identities after coming to the country in the 1970s as German foreign exchange student Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter.

I think the proseution theory is a good one though. And I’m wondering if there may be something even more damaging, like a confession to Sandra Boss that he was Christopher Chichester and he once lived with a couple in San Marino that disappeared.

Whatever is in there, the cops and DAs office are being extremely closed-mouthed.

Here’s a link to today’s story on the case.




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Text message in the Rockefeller case*

*I got this message from the Suffolk County DA’s office this afternoon. Looks like Clark Rockefeller’s attorney Stephen Hrones is going to ask that bail be reduced from $50,000,000 for the one time fugitive:

The defense attorney for CHRISTIAN KARL GERHARTSREITER, a.k.a. Clark Rockefeller, is expected to be in the First Session of the Suffolk Superior Court tomorrow at noon for a bail hearing before a judge; Assistant District Attorney David Deakin is representing the Commonwealth.

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Rockefeller held on $50 million bail

From the Suffolk County DA’s office:

BOSTON, Sept. 29, 2008–A Suffolk Superior Court clerk magistrate today set bail at $50 million cash for the kidnapping defendant formerly known as Clark Rockefeller, “based on what I perceive the risk [of flight] to be.”

Clerk Magistrate Gary D. Wilson did not adopt prosecutors’ requests to continue holding CHRISTIAN KARL GERHARTSREITER (D.O.B. 2/21/61) without bail, but set it at an amount well beyond the $25,000 recommended by Gerhartsreiter’s attorney.

Gerhartsreiter may also post 10 times the cash amount in property as surety – in this case, $500 million.

At the agreement of Assistant District Attorney David Deakin and defense attorney Stephen Hrones, Wilson also scheduled Gerhartsreiter’s trial for March 23.

Wilson was prepared to allow both parties a full year to prepare for those proceedings. Indicted Friday by a Suffolk County grand jury, Gerhartsreiter today pleaded not guilty to single counts of kidnapping a minor relative, assault and battery, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, and furnishing a false name to police officers.

AP article on Gerhartsreiter’s plea: 

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Boston grand jury indicts Rockefeller as Gerhartsreiter

O’Ryan Johnson at the Boston Herald writes:

The man once known as Clark Rockefeller was formally charged today with crimes he allegedly committed in early August when he ran off with his daughter during a supervised visit with a social worker.

Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter was indicted by a Suffolk County grand jury for parental kidnapping, assault and battery, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, and providing a false name to police, according to the Suffolk District Attorney’s office.

Gerhartsreiter fled from the Back Bay, prompting a week-long manhunt, during which authorities began to uncover a twisted pattern of false identities and possible ties to murdered California newlyweds.


Here’s a press release from the Suffolk County DA’s Office:

BOSTON, Sept. 26, 2008–A Suffolk County grand jury today returned indictments charging CHRISTIAN KARL GERHARTSREITER (D.O.B. 2/21/61) with parental kidnapping, assault-related offenses, and providing a phony name to the Boston Police detectives investigating the case, Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley announced.
Currently held without bail on similar district court complaints, the indictments move Gerhartsreiter’s case to Superior Court, where it will be adjudicated. Conley said he expects Gerhartsreiter to be arraigned on the indicted charges Monday.
Gerhartsreiter – formerly known as “Clark Rockefeller,” among other aliases – allegedly kidnapped his daughter on July 27, during their first scheduled visit following his divorce from her mother.
Under the terms of their 2007 divorce, Gerhartsreiter and his ex-wife agreed that she would have legal custody of her daughter and that Gerhartsreiter would be allowed a limited number of visits each year, with those visits monitored by an independent social worker. In addition to the kidnapping charge, Gerhartsreiter is also charged with assault and battery for allegedly shoving that social worker to the ground during the abduction and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon – the sport utility vehicle in which he escaped – for allegedly directing his driver to accelerate when he knew the social worker was holding on to the moving vehicle’s door. Those charges carry maximum penalties of 2 years in a house of correction and 10 years in state prison, respectively.
Finally, Gerhartsreiter was also indicted today for giving a false name to a police officer, a crime punishable by up to a year behind bars from and after any sentence for the underlying offense for which he was arrested. Gerhartsreiter incurred that charge by identifying himself as “Clark Rockefeller” to the Boston Police detectives interviewing him upon his August arrest.
“That the victim in this case is the defendant’s own daughter doesn’t minimize the wrongness of his actions,” Conley said. “He took her across state lines without her legal guardian’s knowledge or permission – it’s any parent’s worst nightmare. People on the run take risks they wouldn’t in other circumstances, and we’re all very lucky that this young girl suffered no long-term physical injury as a result of her ordeal.”
Gerhartsreiter’s arraignment will likely take place Monday morning in the Magistrate’s Session of Suffolk Superior Court, located on the seventh floor of the courthouse. The defendant is represented by attorney Stephen Hrones.

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Clark Rockefeller, the bones and another mystery

For most of last week, I was second guessing myself. Did the bones I’d seen at the Coroner’s consist of more than the top portion of a skull?

Those bones are likely all that remains of John Sohus. The used to reside in the basement office of Steve Dowell, a tool mark expert who examines such things over at 1104 North Mission Road.

Mystery man Clark Rockefeller is a person of interest in the disappearance of Sohus and his wife Linda. And, Sheriff’s homicide detectives would like to talk to him about the bones and a possible murder at the Sohus home on Lorain Road in San Marino.

I read in the Boston Herald that when the skeleton was recovered it had been trisected and placed into three plastic bags before burial. That’s when the second guessing started. Surely if that was the case there would be more than a few pieces of skull.

Fortunately, my memory was validated by Dowell and Coroner’s assistant Chief Ed Winter who assured me that those pieces are all that’s left. There’s no jaw and no teeth — thus no easy identification. Because John Sohus was adopted getting a DNA match will be difficult as well.

Winter said the rest of the remains were likely cremated several years ago to make room for other remains. In a place that handles 10,000 bodies a year, it’s not a unreasonable conclusion.

But what of the plastic bags? Of the fiberboard box or any clothes the skeleton may have had…still no answer there. Sheriff’s Lt. Paul Becker said his detectives are searching for that evidence.

Coroner’s officials are also attempting to piece together the archived file that contains an autopsy report and other findings from the scene, Winter said.

Needless to say there’s still a lot of this tale left to tell.    

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Another Rockefeller timeline

1961: Christian Gerhartstreider born in Bavaria, West Germany, Alexander Geihartstreider, who claims to be his brother, told the Boston Globe.
1980-81: Christian Gerhart Reiter turns up in Berlin, Conn. as a German exchange student with the Savio family, according to the Associated Press. He attends high school there and ends up living with a teacher named Christopher Chichester.
1981-82: Christian Gerhartstreider moves to Elm Grove, Wis., and marries Amy Jersild, 22, in a civil ceremony at the Dane County courthouse in Madison, according to public records and a sister of Jersild.
1982-83: Christopher Chichester appears in San Marino and South Pasadena, as the host of a weekly public access television show broadcast on local cable, according to Don Appleby, with Time Warner Cable in South Pasadena.
1984-85: Chichester moves into a cottage in the back of the San Marino residence of Didi Sohus, her son John and his wife Linda.
Feb. 1985: John and Linda Sohus disappear.
April 1985: Didi Sohus files a missing persons report with the San Marino Police Department.
1987-1989: Christoper Mountbatten Crowe obtains a job on Wall Street sales manager, according to various sources including blogger Don Copeland. He’s fired for not making sales.
1989: In Greenwich, Conn., Christopher Crowe attempts to sell a truck registered to John Sohus. Apparently his fingerprints match fingerprints left behind by Chichester in San Marino. Greenwhich authorities notify Los Angeles County authorities, but Chichester and the truck disappeared.
1993: Clark Rockefeller surfaces in New York and is introduced to Sandra Lynne Boss, his future wife, according to the Boston Herald.
1994: The bones of a man believed to be John Sohus are unearthed during a swimming pool excavation in San Marino. Detectives issue a bulletin seeking Chichester and identify several aliases including Christian Gerhartstreider and Christopher Mountbatten Crowe, according to the Pasadena Star-News.
1995: Clark Rockefeller marries Sandra Lynn Boss. BH
2001: Reigh “Snooks” Boss born.
2007: Boss and Rockefeller divorce in a probate hearing, during the proceedings, Rockefeller refuses to provide proof of his identity, according to Wikipedia.
July 27, 2008: Reigh Boss is abducted, according America’s Most Wanted.
August 2008: Clark Rockefeller arrested in Baltimore, extradited to Massachuttets and charged in the abduction. Detectives from Los Angeles County fly to Boston to interview him, but are rebuffed and return to Los Angeles.

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