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The German who posed as a Rockerfeller family member after allegedly killing a man in California explained the freshly-dug soil in his back yard as plumbing work, a witness said Tuesday.
Christian Gerhartsreiter, accused of burying the dismembered body of John Sohus in the 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 disappeared 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.
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.
The trial, expected to last three to four weeks, 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.