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Rockefeller impostor murder charge

A mystery man who calls himself Clark Rockefeller has been charged with murder over the disappearance of a Southern California man more than 25 years ago, the Los Angeles District Attorney's office said.

German national Christian Gerhartsreiter became notorious after his arrest several years ago in Baltimore when he spun elaborate tales about his past and claimed to be a member of the famous Rockefeller family.

He was charged on Tuesday with killing 27-year-old John Sohus in 1985 when he was living at the home of Sohus' mother in San Marino, a wealthy Los Angeles suburb, the district attorney's office said.

Mr Sohus' body was unearthed from the back garden of the house in 1994. An investigation determined he was killed by blunt force trauma to the head. Mr Sohus' wife, Linda, is still missing.

Gerhartsreiter used several aliases, including Christopher Chichester, during his time in San Marino. He vanished shortly after Mr Sohus disappeared, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors in his 2009 trial said Gerhartsreiter moved to the United States in the 1970s when he was a teenager.

They said he used multiple aliases to move in wealthy circles in Boston, New York and Los Angeles, and led his wife and others to believe he was an heir to the Rockefeller fortune.

The trial featured testimony from friends and acquaintances who said that he claimed at various times to be a physicist, an art collector, a ship captain and a financial adviser who renegotiated debt for small countries.

Gerhartsreiter was convicted in the kidnapping of his seven-year-old daughter. He's serving a four- to five-year sentence in a Massachusetts prison.

District Attorney's spokeswoman Jane Robison said it could take as long as two months to extradite him to Los Angeles to face the murder charge. He faces 26 years to life in prison if convicted.

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