'Rockefeller' goes on trial for murder of Calif. man

Posted: 03/11/13 at 10:40 am EDT      Last Updated: 03/11/13 at 5:28 pm EDT

UNDATED (WHDH) -- It’s a murder trial nearly 30 years in the making.

The man who calls himself Clark Rockefeller is accused of killing a California man in the mid-1980's.

Reckefeller, whose real name is Christian Gerhartsreiter, is already in jail serving time in Massachusetts for abducting his 7-year-old daughter during a visit to Boston in 2009.

That parental kidnapping investigation led to charges in the cold case.

“I think he is anxious to get closure. So I would say, if anything, he is more upbeat about the fact that he’ll have his day in court,” said Gerhartsreiter’s attorney, Jeffrey Denner.

Gerhartsreiter had yet another alias when he lived with John and Linda Sohus in southern California. The couple disappeared in 1985.

Nearly a decade later, John Sohus’ body was found dismembered and buried in the backyard. Linda Sohus also vanished. Gerhartsreiter is not charged with killing her.

Gerhartsreiter’s attorney said the murder trial could be difficult for both sides.

“It’s a lot harder to find witnesses for both prosecution and the defense…who are around, some have passed away, or have just moved on, or if they are around, have perfect memories of what happened,” said Denner.

In the early 1990's, Gerhartsreiter started using the name Rockefeller to rub elbows with wealthy families in New England.

He still goes by Clark Rockefeller, but he’s only rubbing elbows with fellow inmates.

“His life has been in limbo for a long time. This is an unusual case. It’s one of those cases that spans the imagination as well as the decades,” said Denner.

Jury selection was on Monday. The trial is supposed to last at least six weeks.

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