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Fake Rockefeller faces murder charge verdict

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

US prosecutors made closing arguments Monday against a German accused of killing his landlord before evading arrest for years using aliases and posing as a member of the famed Rockefeller family.

The jury is set to consider its verdict once defense lawyers also wrap up their cases against Christian Gerhartsreiter, who also passed himself off as an English nobleman and a Hollywood producer.

The bespectacled 52-year-old, wearing a navy blue suit, showed no reaction as prosecutor Habib Balian made his closing statements to the jury in the downtown Los Angeles Superior Court.

Gerhartsreiter is charged with murdering his landlord John Sohus, who went missing in 1985 but whose remains were only found nine years later in the back yard of his home.

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

"This isn't a movie. This isn't a TV show, this isn't a book. Right here, right now, this case is about two people who lived. It's about things that happened to those two people," said Balian.

"Not only did the defendant kill John Sohus. Not only does all evidence indicate that he killed Linda Sohus. Not only did he end these people's lives, but he came in here and blamed the woman that he he killed."

Balian said that Gerhartsreiter, not the victim's missing wife, was the "master manipulator" who was able to cover his tracks and evade police for decades with fake identities.

The prosecutor also reiterated that the postcards that Linda Sohus allegedly sent from Paris three months after the couple went missing were in fact fabricated by Gerhartsreiter.

"It is unreasonable to believe that Linda went to Paris," he said, stressing that there are no official records indicating that the victim's missing wife applied for a passport or traveled internationally.

The jury will retire to consider their verdict once the defense has closed its case, possibly as early as Monday afternoon.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130408/fake-rockefeller-faces-murder-charge-verdict