Witness: 'Rockefeller' had bloody rug

Jan. 24, 2012 at 6:35 PM

LOS ANGELES, Jan. 24 (UPI) -- A California man says the person who used the name "Clark Rockefeller" offered to sell a rug in 1985 but rolled it up when the man's wife noticed blood stains.

"Rockefeller," who has been identified as Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter, a German who originally came to the United States as an exchange student, is charged with murder in California. A preliminary hearing is under way to determine whether there is enough evidence to hold him for trial.

Witnesses have described the string of names Gerhartsreiter used, hinting he was from a distinguished family.

Mihoko Manabe, his girlfriend in New York between 1988 and 1994, testified Tuesday that Gerhartsreiter changed his name and appearance after a California police officer called him, the Boston Herald reported. She said Gerhartsreiter told her the man was an impostor and "bad people" were tracking him.

Robert Brown, 85, of San Marino, Calif., said Monday he knew Gerhartsreiter as Christopher Chichester, the Pasadena Star-News reported. He said the rug, an oriental, was part of a collection of items Gerhartsreiter was trying to sell.

Gerhartsreiter is suspected of killing his Pasadena landlord, John Sohus, in 1985. Sohus' body was found in 1994 and his wife, Linda, is still missing.

Brown said he and his wife, Bette, did not think of the blood at the time as sinister.

"He fairly quickly rolled it up and left with it," Brown testified. "We didn't have any further discussion of it. It seemed rather silly at the time that these were the things he was getting rid of."

Gerhartsreiter was arrested in 2008 after he kidnapped the daughter he fathered during a short-lived marriage to a Boston businesswoman.

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