Gallery: Witness testimony continues in murder trial of Christian Gerhartsreiter, aka Clark Rockefeller
Complete Coverage: The Fake Rockefeller Trial and San Marino Murder Mystery
LOS ANGELES -- A Wisconsin woman who dated murder suspect Christian Gerhartsreiter in the 1980s testified Thursday that she received mail from him postmarked in England at the same time he was living in San Marino.
Elaine Siskoff also told a seven-woman, five-man jury hearing evidence in the case that Gerhartsreiter, who later posed as Clark Rockefeller, married her sister in a sham ceremony before he left Wisconsin for good.
"He said he was going to go to California to pursue an internship with (George) Lucas, the 'Star Wars' director," Siskoff said. "I never saw him again. "
Gerhartsreiter, 52, is accused of killing San Marino resident John Sohus in early 1985. If convicted, he faces 26 years to life in prison.
Prosecutors introduced the postcard Gerhartsreiter sent to Siskoff in 1982 during their opening statement and pointed to it as an example of foreign postcards Gerhartsreiter collected throughout his life.
Gerhartsreiter lived in a back guesthouse of a residence on Lorain Road in San Marino owned by Ruth "Didi" Sohus. John and Linda Sohus were also living at the house when the couple disappeared in early 1985.
John Sohus' body was discovered buried in the backyard in 1994. Linda Sohus has not been heard from since, although friends and family members received postcards signed by her that appeared to have been sent from Paris in 1985.
On Thursday afternoon, Linda's mother, Susan Mayfield of West Los Angeles, and Linda's sister, Katherine Jacoby, testified about the postcard they received and filing a missing persons report in April 1985.
The 1982 postcard to Siskoff from Cornwall, England begins with an apology: "It's sad that we can't see each other. "
A description of life in London followed. Siskoff said she saved the postcard because Gerhartsreiter was her first real boyfriend.
"I am doing a lot of writing," Gerharsreiter wrote on the postcard. "I am also very involved in church activities. "
He went on to describe his teaching of 10- and 11-year-olds at a church Sunday school and described an upcoming trip to several African countries. Before closing, Gerhartsreiter included a complaint about British rules but promised he would take some action.
"I will be writing to the queen about changing this law," he closed. There is no return address on the card, which contains several notations that it should be sent "Via Airmail. "
A San Marino woman who met Gerhartsreiter - who was then going by the name of Christopher Chichester, XIII baronet - at a Crowell Library fundraiser testified she went on a couple of dates with him, but cut him off when she began to feel he was making up stories about being in charge of the Chichester family trust fund.
"He had a crappy car and lived in a crappy house, " Catherine Roemer said. "There was constant embellishment of every tale. "
Roemer said Gerhartsreiter affected the personality of an aristocrat in most of his dealings with other people.
"He was very Thurston Howell III," Roemer said, describing the TV millionaire who lived on "Gilligan's Island." "He was so full of crap his eyes were brown. "
Roemer said Gerhartsreiter practically stalked her when she left San Marino briefly in 1984 to house sit in Northern California. After she arrived at the house in Los Altos, she received a box of Godiva chocolates with a note from Gerhartsreiter telling her the box was a perfect place to store love letters.
Trial will resume at 9 a.m. Friday with testimony from Harry Sherwood IV, Didi Sohus' grandson and heir to her estate.
He visited his grandmother in San Marino nine months after John and Linda disappeared and recalled that it appeared as if the couple left all their things behind. He described Linda's artwork and portfolio and recalled that John left behind medication and supplies to treat his diabetes.
Also scheduled to testify are Arcadia police Sgt. Tom LeVeque and Baldwin Park Police Chief Lili Hadsell. Both worked for the San Marino Police Department when the Sohuses were reported missing.
The Los Angeles News Group learned Thursday that Sandy Boss, Gerhartsreiter's former wife, will testify for the prosecution as soon as next week.
In 1995 Boss, a Harvard Business School graduate, married him thinking he was a Rockefeller and descendant of the 19th Century oil baron.
He and Boss had a child together, Reigh "Snooks" Boss. The couple divorced in 2007. When Gerhartsreiter refused to provide proof of his identity, he lost custody of the child and was given limited visitation rights.
During a supervised visit with his daughter in 2008, Gerhartsreiter kidnapped the girl and fled from Boston to Baltimore, where he had assumed the identity of Chip Smith. He was arrested by the FBI and subsequently convicted, receiving a four- to five-year sentence.
Boss, 45, is a senior partner for London-based McKinsey and Company. She grew up in Seattle and met Gerhartsreiter in 1994 at a Clue party. He came dressed as the character "Professor Plum" and she came as "Miss Scarlet. "