'Rockefeller' killer explained grave as 'plumbing'

The German who posed as a Rockefeller family member after allegedly killing a man in California explained the freshly-dug soil in his back yard as plumbing work, a witness said.

Christian Gerhartsreiter, accused of burying the dismembered body of John Sohus in his backyard in 1985, gave the explanation to guests he invited to his house to play Trivial Pursuit.

Dana Glad Farrar said she knew Gerhartsreiter as Christopher Chichester, a self-described British baronet, when she went to his home in San Marino, near Los Angeles, in the summer of 1985.

The guests gathered in the backyard of the guest house he rented, which stood behind the main house occupied by Sohus and his wife Linda, owned by Sohus' aging mother Ruth, who also lived there.

"Well, shortly after I sat down, I noticed there was dirt in the yard that had been dug up," she told the LA Superior Court jury, which heard opening prosecution and defense statements on Monday.

"It looked like someone had dug up part of the lawn ... I said, 'What's going on with your yard, Chris? It's all dug up.' He said he had been having plumbing problems."

Gerhartsreiter, 52, is charged with murdering Sohus, whose remains were only found nine years later when new owners of the house were digging up the yard to make a swimming pool.

Linda Sohus vanished at the same time, as did Gerhartsreiter -- who moved to Connecticut and changed his name a number of times, eventually calling himself Clark Rockefeller and getting married, fooling even his wife for 12 years.

On the day playing Trivial Pursuit, Farrar asked Gerhartsreiter why he went into the main house two or three times to fetch items like sugar and ice, rather than the guest house which was nearer and where he lived.

"He said, 'They are away. They will not mind'," she said, adding that she had doubts about him at the time, particularly because he said he was from South Africa and rich.

"There were a lot of inconsistencies ... I didn't really have any reason to doubt it, but he had a really old car," she said, adding that she never heard from him again, after that day.

Farrar was the second witness called by the prosecution, after the owner of the house who unearthed Sohus' bones in 1994, Jose Perez -- who described finding the remains wrapped inside plastic bags and a fiberglass container.

"That's the skull," Perez said, when asked by prosecutor Habib Balian about a photo taken in the yard. He estimated that it would have taken someone six to seven hours to dig the hole in which the remains were buried.

The German's defense lawyer claimed Monday that Sohus' wife Linda could just as easily have killed her husband, noting that she was 6 feet tall and weighed 200 pounds, whereas Gerhartsreiter was 5 foot 6 inches and weighed 140 pounds.

Key evidence could be postcards apparently sent by Linda Sohus from Paris, three months after the couple's disappearance. Prosecutors say Gerhartsreiter arranged for them to be sent, while his lawyer said she did in fact mail them.

Expected to last three to four weeks, the trial is being held in the downtown LA courtroom where Michael Jackson's doctor Conrad Murray was found guilty in 2011 over the King of Pop's June 25, 2009 death.

The trial continues Wednesday.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Fight fans sue Pacquiao over injury
    Fight fans sue Pacquiao over injury

    Two Nevada men filed a class-action lawsuit against Manny Pacquiao, seeking millions in damages because they say he fraudulently concealed a shoulder injury before his defeat to Floyd Mayweather. It is just the latest fallout from Mayweather's victory in Las Vegas on Saturday in a unanimous decision, with Pacquiao saying afterwards that the shoulder complaint hampered his performance in the welterweight world title showdown. The plaintiffs argue that by failing to go public with the injury …

  • Noy leaves for US
    Noy leaves for US

    President Aquino leaves today for the United States to begin his three-day North American trip that will culminate in a state visit to Canada. The President departs at 8 a.m. on a chartered Philippines Airlines flight to Chicago for a one-day working visit. From Chicago, the President will proceed to Canada where he and Prime Minister Stephen Harper will witness the signing of bilateral agreements on labor cooperation, development assistance and infrastructure development. Canada is home to …

  • China accuses Phl of violating South China Sea Code
    China accuses Phl of violating South China Sea Code

    China has accused the Philippines of violating a 13-year-old informal code of conduct in the South China Sea with its building work on disputed islets, firing back again after repeated criticism of China’s own construction work. China and the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) signed an agreement in 2002 to refrain from occupying uninhabited reefs and shoals in the sea, and from building new structures that would complicate disputes. In a statement released just before …

  • Noul to bring stormy weather to central, northern Luzon
    Noul to bring stormy weather to central, northern Luzon

    Tropical storm  Noul  (international name) will bring stormy weather to the eastern section of Central and Northern Luzon this weekend, as it slightly gained strength and moved westward toward the Philippine area of responsibility yesterday. Rene Paciente, Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) senior weather forecaster, said the eastern section of Central and Northern Luzon, including Aurora, Isabela and Cagayan, may experience rains with gusty …

  • House asked to allocate P500-M legal aid for OFWs
    House asked to allocate P500-M legal aid for OFWs

    The House of Representatives was asked yesterday to appropriate P500 million for legal assistance for distressed overseas Filipino workers (OFWs). Reprieved death convict Mary Jane Veloso mirrors the tragedy of many OFWs in search of better job opportunities abroad “who become victims of human and drug trafficking and other forms of exploitation,” according to Bill 5704 that the seven-member Makabayan bloc of lawmakers had filed. The lawmakers said Veloso’s family claims that they were not …

  • World’s best place to be a mom: Norway is tops; Phl 105th
    World’s best place to be a mom: Norway is tops; Phl 105th

    Norway ranks as the world’s best place to be a mother, well ahead of the United States, which dropped to the 33rd spot in the annual scorecard released by Save the Children on Monday. Somalia is the worst place, just below the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic. The Philippines placed 105th out of 179 countries, but the Save the Children report, which profiled Metro Manila among other cities, said that the National Capital Region has done better than most megacities …

  • Philippines' largest telco sees costly, painful fight
    Philippines' largest telco sees costly, painful fight

    Philippine Long Distance Telephone, the country's largest telecommunications firm, said Tuesday it expects to spend nearly $1 billion in a "painful" fight to survive the consumer shift to digital from traditional phone services. The listed company said net profit for the first three months of the year was flat at 9.4 billion pesos ($211 million), and the full-year net profit would likely fall below the 34.1 billion pesos it posted last year. "It's either we pivot or we perish," PLDT chairman …

  • China says Philippines violating South China Sea code

    China has accused the Philippines of violating a 13-year-old informal code of conduct in the South China Sea with its building work on disputed islets, firing back again after repeated criticism of China's own construction work. China and the 10-member Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) signed an agreement in 2002 to refrain from occupying uninhabited reefs and shoals in the sea, and from building new structures that would complicate disputes. In a statement just before midnight …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options