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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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:


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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Clark Rockefeller’s wife offers church back to New Hampshire town

This from the Associated Press. Seems that Sandra Boss can no longer afford the upkeep of an old church in Cornish, N.H. Her former husband, Clark Rockefeller, aka Christian Gerhartsreiter, who took over the church in 2004 in exchange for $110,000.

Rockefeller/Gerhartsreiter used the name Christopher Chichester when he lived in San Marino in the 1980s. LA County Sheriff’s homicide detectives have named him as a person of interest in the 1985 disappearance of John and Linda Sohus, a San Marino couple.
Our special section on the mystery is here.

The Boston Herald picked up the latest wire story:

CORNISH, N.H. — The ex-wife of the man who called himself Clark Rockefeller has offered to give an historic church back to the New Hampshire town of Cornish.

Sandra Boss says she can no longer support Trinity Church, an 1808 building which hosts weddings and other events. Selectmen said they will recommend residents accept the offer.

Cornish resident Peter Burling offered to donate the church to the town in 2004. But Rockefeller, who owned property in town, took over the church in exchange for $110,000.


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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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