German Rockefeller imposter, Christian Gerhartsreiter, guilty of 1985 US murder
Conman who pretended to be part of wealthy US family convicted of killing landlady's son
Tim Walker is The Independent’s Los Angeles correspondent, covering entertainment and other concerns from the West Coast of the US. He was previously a features writer and the editor of the paper’s diary column. His first novel, Completion, is being published in January 2014.
Wednesday 10 April 2013
A German criminal, who spent years pretending to be a member of the fabulously wealthy Rockefeller family, has been found guilty of murdering his landlady's son in San Marino, California, in 1985.
A jury in Los Angeles took less than a day to decide that Christian Gerhartsreiter, who is now 52, had bludgeoned to death 27-year-old John Suhos and buried him in a shallow grave behind the guesthouse where the two men both lived. Mr Suhos's remains were uncovered in 1994 as a construction crew dug a swimming pool for the property's subsequent owner. His wife Linda, who also went missing, has never been found.
At the time of the couple's disappearance, Gerhartsreiter was passing himself off as Christopher Chichester, a British aristocrat with royal connections. He vanished from California not long after the murder and moved to Connecticut, where he set himself up as Christopher Crowe, a film and television producer. Eventually he concocted his most spectacular and successful false identity, claiming to belong to one of the country's most famous families.
As Yale-educated Clark Rockefeller, he rose through the ranks of the exclusive Algonquin Club in Boston, and gained the trust of Sandra Boss, the Harvard Business School graduate whom he wed in 1995. Boss was the breadwinner, but Gerhartsreiter jealously controlled the family income from her work as a business consultant. The couple were married for more than a decade before Boss grew suspicious of her increasingly abusive husband, and hired a private investigator, who exposed the fabrications in his biography. The couple began divorce proceedings, but Gerhartsreiter's true identity was only revealed in 2008, after he was arrested for abducting his daughter during a custody battle.
Gerhartsreiter was convicted of kidnapping, assault and battery in 2009, and he was nearing the end of a four-year prison sentence when Los Angeles police finally linked him to the 1985 murder. He faces a possible life sentence.
- 2 Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb
- 3 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
- 4 Cee Lo Green: It is only rape if the victim is conscious
Perez Hilton apologises for publishing Jennifer Lawrence naked 4Chan photos
Emma Watson on Jennifer Lawrence naked photo leak: 'Even worse than seeing women's privacy violated is reading the comments'
Ariana Grande nude photos leak: Pictures are completely fake, say representatives
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb
Katie Hopkins breaks down in tears over weight gain challenge: ‘I hate fat people for making me do this’
Rotherham child sex abuse scandal: Labour Home Office to be probed over what Tony Blair's government knew - and when
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Ashya King: Parents of five-year-old boy refused permission to visit him in hospital and denied bail at Spanish court
With Douglas Carswell joining Ukip, my party has taken another giant step forward
When elitism grips the top of British society to this extent, there is only one answer: abolish private schools
Ashya King: 'Cruel NHS has not given us the treatment we need', says father of five-year-old with brain tumour who fled to Spain
£30000 - £45000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: Front-Of...
£700 per day: Harrington Starr: Quantitative Developer C++, Python, STL, R, PD...
£700 per day: Harrington Starr: Java/Calypso Developer Java, Calypso, J2EE, J...
£500 per day: Harrington Starr: SQL Developer SQL, C#, Stored Procedures, MDX...