The man who calls himself Clark Rockefeller today sought a reduction in his sentence for kidnapping his daughter that could have made him eligible for parole almost immediately. But his request was quickly turned down by a panel of three Superior Court judges.
Rockefeller, whose real name is Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter, was originally sentenced by Judge Frank Gaziano to four to five years in state prison after being convicted of parental kidnapping and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon in a case that generated international headlines.
Using a little-known option available to all defendants, he asked the Appellate Division panel for his sentence to be reduced.
Gerhartsreiter's attorney, Timothy J. Bradl, told the panel that his client was mentally ill and his sentence had been influenced by publicity surrounding the case. Bradl argued that a more appropriate sentence would be zero to 24 months.
But prosecutor David Deakin argued that the sentence Rockefeller received was appropriate, noting that Gerhartsreiter had hatched a premeditated plot to kidnap his daughter, Reigh, and make sure she never saw her mother again.
The case drew widespread publicity because of the frantic search for the little girl, which was followed by revelations that the German-born con man had dropped his original name after arriving in America, adopting multiple different identities and claiming an aristocratic pedigree. Among the aliases he used were Christopher Chichester, C. Mountbatten, Christopher C. Crowe, and Dr. Reiter.
The story took a darker turn when California investigators named Gerhartsreiter a "person of interest" in the 1985 disappearance and presumed killing of a San Marino, Calif., couple. Gerhartsreiter, who was using the name Chichester at the time, was the couple's tenant.
Rockefeller appeared at the half-hour hearing today, wearing a rumpled plaid beige suit, with a white shirt and yellow tie. He was handcuffed and his legs were shackled.
Rockefeller was convicted last June in the summer 2008 abduction of his daughter, who was 7 at the time, during a supervised visit in the Back Bay.
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