Witness In 'Rockefeller' Case Found Bloodstains

Published January 21, 2012 4:09AM (EST)

ALHAMBRA, Calif. (AP) — A forensic scientist testifying Friday in the murder case against a man who posed as an heir to the Rockefeller fortune said she found four bloodstains in the Southern California guesthouse where the suspect lived.

Criminalist Lynne Herold gave the testimony in a preliminary hearing to determine whether Christian Gerhartsreiter should stand trial for the death of John Sohus, whose remains were found at his former home in San Marino in 1994, nearly 10 years after he and his wife vanished.

Herold and her colleagues from the Los Angeles County coroner's office used a chemical reaction at the time to find the stains in the Sohuses' guesthouse, where Gerhartsreiter was a tenant known as Christopher Chichester when the couple disappeared, according to the Los Angeles Times ( ).

Herold said three of the four stains showed patterns indicating they had been wiped or something like a body had been dragged through them.

She said she did not take a blood sample because in 1994 such a stain could not be tested for DNA analysis, and it may never be known whose blood it was.

Herold testified that she remembers the investigation despite the passing of so many years, because it was among the most memorable of her career.

"It has from Day One sort of been stuck in my head, and it probably always will be one of those cases that you just never forget," she said.

Many of the witnesses in the preliminary hearing have had difficulty remembering details because so many years have passed.

The couple disappeared in 1985. Gerhartsreiter left town soon afterward.

He is charged only with killing 27-year-old John Sohus; no sign of Linda Sohus has been found.

Gerhartsreiter has previously been exposed as a veteran impostor. On the East Coast, he claimed to be "Clark Rockefeller," a member of the famous family, and married a woman with whom he had a daughter. She divorced him when she found out he had duped her.

Last year, Gerhartsreiter was convicted of kidnapping his daughter in Boston during a custody dispute. He is serving a four- to five-year prison sentence for that crime. He would be eligible for parole this year if he was not facing the California charge, which could bring him 26 years to life in prison if he's convicted.


Information from: Los Angeles Times, http://www.latimes.com

By Salon Staff

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