Rockefeller impostor jury reaches verdict

Associated Press
Prosecutor Habib Balian makes his final arguments in the murder trial of Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter, at Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center in Los Angeles Tuesday, April 9, 2013. Gerhartsreiter  has pleaded not guilty to the killing of John Sohus, 27, who disappeared with his wife, Linda, in 1985 while Gerhartsreiter was a guest cottage tenant at the home of Sohus' mother, where the couple lived. (AP Photo/San Gabriel Valley Tribune,Walter Mancini, Pool )

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Prosecutor Habib Balian makes his final arguments in the murder trial of Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter, …

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Jurors reached a verdict Wednesday in the case of a Rockefeller impostor accused in the decades-old killing of a California man whose wife also disappeared.

The jury of six men and six women received the case Tuesday and deliberated for half the day before going home without reaching a verdict.

The panel signaled it had a verdict shortly after returning to court Wednesday. The verdict was to be read at late morning.

Christian Gerhartsreiter, a German immigrant whose elaborate charade as a member of the fabled Rockefeller oil family unraveled when he was arrested, is charged in the murder of John Sohus, who disappeared in 1985.

Gerhartsreiter's lawyers claim Sohus was killed by his wife, who has been missing since the couple vanished. Prosecutors have ridiculed that theory.

However, they conceded no motive had been presented during the three-week trial for the killing of John Sohus.

"Some cases are so old that you never get every question answered," Deputy District Attorney Habib Balian said in his closing argument.

He urged jurors to find Gerhartsreiter guilty anyway.

"He's gotten away with it long enough," Balian said. "Hold this man accountable."

The bones of John Sohus were unearthed in the backyard of his mother's former house in San Marino in 1995. Gerhartsreiter lived as a tenant on the property in 1984 and 1985, vanishing around the same time the couple disappeared, according to witnesses.

In his closing argument, defense attorney Jeffrey Denner described his client as "an odd guy" but not a killer. Gerhartsreiter used many aliases, including the name Clark Rockefeller.

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