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Rockefeller Impostor's Murder Trial: Ex-wife of Christian Gerhartsreiter next to testify

FILE - In this Aug. 5, 2008 file photo, Christian Gerhartsreiter is shown during his arraignment at a Boston, Mass., municipal court. Gerhartsreiter, a Rockefeller impostor has been charged Tuesday, March 15, 2011 with murder in a Southern California man's disappearance. (AP Photo/Essdras Suarez, File, Pool) Essdras Suarez

Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter during opening statements in his murder trial in Los Angeles Criminal Court on Monday, March 18, 2013.
AP Photo/Nick Ut
(CBS) LOS ANGELES - As the murder trial of Rockefeller impersonator Christian Gerhartsreiter resumes Tuesday, his ex-wife Sandra Boss, who was deceived into 12 years of marriage and bearing his child under the Rockefeller name, is scheduled to take the witness stand.

The prosecution wants the jury to consider that the same man capable of perpetrating a heartless con job on his own wife and child could also commit murder.

"They were married for 12 years. And he was hiding who he really was. They had a child together, seven years old, who never knew who her father really was. And for 12 years, the evidence will show you, he was hiding in plain sight," the Los Angeles County Assistant District Attorney Habib Balian offered in his opening statement.

Balian says Gerhartsreiter was hiding after committing the 1985 murder of John Sohus. After Sohus and his wife Linda vanished suddenly, months later so did Gerhartsreiter - who at the time lived in the rented guesthouse of Sohus' mother, under the assumed name Christopher Chichester.

In 1994, John Sohus' remains were discovered buried in the backyard next to that San Marino, Calif. guesthouse.

During the course of a trial now stretching into the third week of testimony, the prosecutor has tried to show that Gerhartsreiter's identity switches were efforts to hide from suspicion in the disappearance of John and Linda Sohus. As the trial resumes Balian hopes the unimaginable plight of the defendant's ex-wife, as an unwitting victim of Gerhartreiter's deception, will prove to the jury that his penchant for exploitation has no limits, not even murder.

Prosecutors promise to end their case soon after ex-wife Sandra Boss takes the stand Tuesday to demonstrate how a con artist disguised as Clark Rockefeller callously shattered the lives of his own wife and child.

During two weeks of testimony one witness after another has told stories of Gerhartsreiter as a cunning chameleon spinning wild yarns of unrealized accomplishment and non-existent family lineage. At each turn, even his own attorneys seized opportunities to confirm his lies suggesting that the witnesses overlooked the contradictions in his numerous personas.

The defense seems to want the jury to see that Gerhartsreiter's fantastical stories of royalty and wealth were clearly belied by the reality of his circumstances. He was, they contend, not so much a master con man capable of hiding a murder, as a bumbling braggart with a tenuous grasp on reality.

The trial is expected to wrap up this week and closing arguments are scheduled for next Mon. April 8, after which the jury will have to decide whether or not serial imposter Christian Gerhartsreiter is also a killer.

This story was contributed by 48 Hours producer Greg Fisher

Complete coverage of the Rockefeller impostor murder case on Crimesider

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