Before they had a body or even knew that a crime had been committed back in San Marino, police nearly caught up with Gerhartsreiter in Greenwich, Conn. He’d arrived there in the summer of 1985 and soon became a fixture in the Episcopal church. He told acquaintances his name was Christopher Crowe.
Court documents and testimony indicate that Chris said he grew up the scion of a wealthy Pasadena family and attended USC film school. He explained that although he had directed episodes of ‘‘The New Alfred Hitchcock Hour,’’ he found film tedious and sought work on Wall Street.
In ‘88, Gerhartsreiter allegedly sold a Datsun pickup truck to John Bishop, son of the Christ Episcopal Church’s rector and an aspiring film student. When Bishop went to register the car, he learned from Greenwich police that California authorities had placed a hold on the Datsun.
It belonged to a missing man named John Sohus.
Bishop explained that he bought the car from an acquaintance named Chris Crowe. He told Greenwich police Sgt. Dan Allen that Crowe was a broker who recently moved to a Tudor City apartment in New York City. Allen said he made a few attempts to speak with Crowe, but when the subject disappeared for good and the San Marino Police Department didn’t follow up, Allen moved on.
Becoming a Rockefeller
It wasn’t too long afterward that Chris became Clark. His girlfriend at the time, Mihoko Manabe, said Chris hit upon the name when making a dinner reservation at a honeymoon resort in Maine. It stuck and he stuck with it.
In 1994, Clark and Mihoko split up and he soon started dating Sandy Boss. She was a Harvard business grad and soon-to-be partner with McKinsey & Company, a London management constituency. The couple were introduced by Sandy’s sister and met at party where everyone came dressed as characters from the game Clue.
Clark came to the party as Professor Plum. Sandy dressed as Miss Scarlet.
Eventually the couple bought a place on Boston’s Beacon Hill and a home in Cornish, N.H. When they split up, both went on the market and Clark took to living in a guest room at Boston’s Algonquin Club, where he had been elected to the board.
It was there he hatched the kidnapping plot that led to his arrest.
Because the murder mystery has garnered international attention, attorneys for both sides expect to question 100 potential jurors. Ultimately they will seat a panel of 12 men and women and four alternates.
They will hear from a host of witnesses who knew Gerhartsreiter, including Elmer Kelln, a retired professor of dentistry at Loma Linda University.
Kelln and his wife were on vacation in Bavaria in 1978 when they first met the young man they knew as Chris. Court documents indicate Chris used their name without permission on his visa application to the country.
Throughout the process, Jeffrey Denner and Brad Bailey, attorneys for Gerhartsreiter, have vigorously maintained their client’s innocence. Their team, which includes Danielle Menard, a member of The State Bar of California, will be allowed to argue the possibility that Linda Sohus might have played a role in her husband’s demise.
Gerhartsreiter, who is serving out the remainder of his Massachusetts sentence at Men’s Central Jail, has a $10 million bond. If convicted, he could spend the rest of his life behind bars. If found not guilty, he could be free later this year.
Prosecutor Habib Balian said he expects the entire affair to last four to six weeks.
‘‘I hope for truth and justice,’’ he said.