Saturday, 2:15 PM
'Rockefeller' to consider a guilty plea
By Shelley Murphy, Globe Staff
The alleged con man who calls himself Clark Rockefeller is pondering whether to plead guilty to kidnapping his 7-year-old daughter and other charges, his attorneys said today.
Clark Rockefeller (File Photo)
"We are thinking it through very carefully," said Jeffrey Denner, Rockfeller's defense attorney.
Rockefeller, whose real name is Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter, is accused of parental kidnapping, assault and battery, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, and giving a false name to police. The saga of his flight with his daughter and the subsequent revelations about his assumed name generated headlines nationwide.
At a pretrial hearing today in Suffolk Superior Court, prosecutor David Deakin told Judge Carol Ball in a sidebar conference that prosecutors would recommend a sentence of 4 1/2 to 5 years in prison followed by 15 years of probation.
Deakin said the case had had a traumatic impact on Gerhartsreiter's ex-wife, who did not know whether she would ever see her daughter again. Deakin had no comment on the case after the hearing.
But Denner said afterwards that there were a number of mitigating factors in the case, including Gerhartsreiter's love for his daughter and his mental health issues.
"He believed that what he was doing was in the best interests of the child. Mistakenly, but that's what he believed," Denner said.
Denner said the defense could present its own recommendation for Gerhartsreiter's sentence. He would not reveal what sentence the defense believes would be appropriate. But he noted that under state guidelines the recommended sentence for parental kidnapping is zero to two years.
Stephen Hrones, another of Gerhartsreiter's defense attorneys, said, "Naturally, we're shooting for the low point. They're shooting for the higher point."
Gerhartsreiter did not appear at the hearing. Defense attorneys are expected to report back on Feb. 3 on whether he has decided to plead guilty.
Gerhartsreiter is accused of kidnapping his daughter, Reigh Storrow Mills Boss, July 27 during a visit supervised by a social worker in Boston. He was arrested a week later in Boston.
The case took a sensational twist after revelations that the man who had called himself "Rockefeller" was a former German national who has used a string of aliases.
The Los Angeles County sheriff's office has labeled him a "person of interest" in the case of a California couple who vanished in the 1980s. Gerhartsreiter had been renting an apartment at their guesthouse at the time.
Gerhartsreiter has denied any involvement in the disappearance of the California couple.
If he does not agree to plead guilty, his trial is expected to begin March 23.