A German man who pretended to be
an heir to the Rockefeller oil fortune
has been jailed for killing his
California landlady's adult son in
Christian Gerhartsreiter, 52, was
sentenced to 27 years to life in prison at
a Los Angeles federal court.
He had been living in Los Angeles under
a false name when he murdered John
Sohus, 27, whose bones were later dug
up at the house.
Sohus' wife Linda, 29, also vanished. No
trace of her has ever been found.
In April, a jury found Gerhartsreiter
guilty of first-degree murder with
malicious intent and of using a blunt
object as a deadly and dangerous
weapon to kill.
They took less than six hours to convict
Gerhartsreiter proclaimed his innocence
as he was sentenced on Thursday,
accusing Linda Sohus of the killing.
"I want to assert my innocence and that
I firmly believe that the victim's wife
killed the victim, but be that as it may,
once again, I did not commit the crime,"
he told the court, reports the Los
Gerhartsreiter had defended himself
after firing his lawyers.
After the killing, he fled to the East Coast
in his victim's pickup truck, changing his
name a number of times.
During his time evading justice,
Gerhartsreiter - who came to the US
more than 30 years ago - masqueraded
as a Hollywood producer, a Wall Street
financier and an English aristocrat.
Witnesses testified at the trial about the
stranger who befriended church
members who invited him into their
He pretended to be Clark Rockefeller and
even got married, fooling his wife for 12
But the ruse was exposed after his 2009
conviction for abducting his daughter in
Boston, Massachusetts, during a custody
dispute. That conviction prompted
investigators to re-examine the California
His former defence lawyer, Jeffrey
Denner, said that Gerhartsreiter
probably was his own worst enemy.
"The way he went through life deceiving
people did not make him very likable to
the jury," Mr Denner said. "But that
doesn't make him a killer."