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Nation/World

April 11, 2013

Rockefeller impostor convicted of murder

(Continued)

“The way he went through life deceiving people did not make him very likable to the jury,” Denner said. “But that doesn’t make him a killer.”

Jurors said they were less interested in the defendant’s life as an impostor than they were in the evidence.

“I’ve never known anyone with the ability to become so many people,” said jury forewoman Kristen Lee, an attorney. “But his character was his character. We were more concerned with the evidence.”

Juror Salvador Ruiz, a retired truck driver, said the panel’s first two votes were split 10-2 in favor of conviction. When the panel reconvened on Wednesday, the two dissenters agreed with the majority.

Ruiz said jurors discussed the fact that Linda Sohus remains missing, and he suggested that authorities should encourage Gerhartsreiter to lead them to her body.

Denner and Brad Bailey, his partner on the defense team, said their client maintains he knows nothing about the woman’s disappearance.

Superior Court Judge George Lomeli set sentencing for June 26.

Prosecutors did not pursue the death penalty, so Gerhartsreiter could face a maximum sentence of 25 years to life in prison for the murder conviction, plus two additional years because the jury also found that he personally used a blunt object and a sharp instrument as weapons.

His lawyers said he is looking forward to an appeal.

Authorities said Gerhartsreiter is a German immigrant who lived another life long ago, occupying a guest cottage at the home of Sohus’ mother in San Marino, a wealthy suburb of Los Angeles. He was known then as Chris Chichester and intimated he was of royal lineage. He joined a church, befriended residents, and told some he was a film student.

A friend said Linda Sohus once described the tenant in the cottage as creepy and said she and her husband never spoke to him.

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