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LOS ANGELES – Jurors on Wednesday were slated to deliberate the case of a Rockefeller impostor accused in the decades-old murder of a California man whose wife also disappeared.
Christian Gerhartsreiter, a German immigrant whose elaborate charade as a member of the fabled Rockefeller oil family unraveled when he was arrested, is charged in the murder of John Sohus, who disappeared in 1985.
The jury of six men and six women received the case Tuesday and deliberated for half the day before going home without reaching a verdict.
Gerhartsreiter's lawyers say Sohus was killed by his own wife, who has been missing since the couple vanished.
Prosecutors have ridiculed that theory, but acknowledge that the jury had not been presented a motive for the killing in the three-weeks-long trial.
"Some cases are so old that you never get every question answered," Deputy District Attorney Habib Balian said.
He urged jurors to find Gerhartsreiter guilty anyway.
"He's gotten away with it long enough," Balian said. "Hold this man accountable."
The bones of John Sohus were unearthed in the backyard of his mother's former house in San Marino in 1995. Gerhartsreiter lived as a tenant on the property in 1984 and 1985, vanishing around the same time the couple disappeared, according to witnesses.
In his closing argument, defense attorney Jeffrey Denner described his client as "an odd guy" but not a killer. Gerhartsreiter used many aliases, including the name Clark Rockefeller.