Rockefeller Impostor's Murder Trial: Testimony examines postcard from victim's wife, Linda Sohus

Christian Gerhartsreiter
AP Photo/Nick Ut
Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter, listens during opening statements in his trial, in Los Angeles Criminal Court on Monday, March 18, 2013.
AP Photo/Nick Ut

(CBS/AP) LOS ANGELES - Testimony in the murder trial of notorious Rockefeller impostor Christian Gerhartsreiter examined Thursday a postcard from Linda Sohus sent to her mother from Paris after she disappeared.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Sohus' mother testified that she was puzzled to receive a postcard from her daughter from Paris after she disappeared in 1985 along with her husband, John Sohus. Susan Mayfield said her daughter did not have a passport or enough money saved for such an extravagant trip, and had never mentioned leaving the country.

The Times reports the postcard said simply, "Mom, I think we need a geography lesson but not too bad -- Linda & John."

Before her disappearance, Sohus reportedly told Mayfield she was going to Connecticut for a couple weeks along with her husband.

John Sohus' bones were dug up decades later from the backyard of a home where Gerhartsreiter lived as a tenant on the slain man's mother's property, but no trace of Linda has ever been found.

The handwriting from the postcard, one of three allegedly sent by Linda Sohus, was analyzed as belonging to her, but the stamps - which were subject to DNA analysis - were licked by a man who wasn't Gerhartsreiter, Deputy District Attorney Habib Balian said during opening statements Monday.

Balian said that police earlier this year found a storage locker rented by Gerhartsreiter in Baltimore. Inside, they found postcards from international cities. Balian claims the postcards were meant to throw investigators off of Gerharsreiter's trail, the Times reports.

A possible explanation, said Balian, is that "the defendant has someone in Europe who mails postcards for him."

Defense Attorney Brad Bailey argued that the post cards could have been sent by Linda Sohus from abroad, after she murdered her husband.

Gerhartsreiter, 52, has pleaded not guilty to the killing of John Sohus, a 27-year-old computer programmer.

The prosecution's case is circumstantial, based on a bag of bones found buried at the property and fuzzy memories of San Marino residents who knew the defendant.

The defense says there was no motive for the defendant to kill anyone. Linda Sohus vanished without a trace.

Complete coverage of the Rockefeller impostor murder case on Crimesider