Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction as the case with Christian Karl Gerhartreiter who had pretended to be a member of the ultra wealthy Rockefeller family, served time in jail for kidnapping his daughter and been the subject of a made for tv movie.
Los Angeles prosecutors formally brought that charge against him, and they are seeking to have him extradited from Massachusetts, where he is serving a sentence of more than four years in prison for kidnapping his daughter in 2008 in Boston.
He was long suspected him in the 1985 murder, but the evidence took a long time to develop.
The LA police spokesperson Steve Whitmore said "It was a very difficult case on many levels,"
The victim, John Sohus, went missing in 1985 but his body was not discovered until 1994. He was conclusively identified only recently with the help of new technology, Whitmore said.
"The district attorney decided that now is the time to file the murder charge, we have enough evidence to get a conviction," Whitmore said.
Gerhartsreiter's wanted a life a wealthy person in the US and merely assumed that identity after coming to the US as a student in the 1970's. For most of the past few decades he had called himself Clark Rockefeller. Eric McCormack played him in the made-for-TV movie "Who Is Clark Rockefeller?" on the Lifetime network.
The 50 year-old Gerhartsreiter's is accused of using a blunt object to kill Sohus, who went missing along with his wife, Linda, in 1985.
Linda's body was never discovered, and as a result Gerhartsreiter has not been charged in her death, Whitmore said. Investigators believe, however, that she is dead.
John Sohus was found buried in the backyard of his home in San Marino a city near Los Angeles prosecutors said. It was in 1994 that someone else who had owned the home at the time chose to have a swimming pool installed and when that was built the body was found but technology did not exist to identify who it was until just recently.
Gerhartsreiter's, claimed the identity of Christopher Chichester at the time of the murder.
"It's basically shoe leather police work combined with technology, as the technology advanced we were able to review and review again," Whitmore said.
For at least 16 years, Gerhartsreiter passed himself off as a Clark Rockefeller and pretended to be a member of New York's Rockefeller oil dynasty. The family has denied any relation. He was successfully living in high society for a long time though.
He married Sandra Boss for 12 years herself a Harvard grad. In the 2007 divorce she accused him of lying of being a Rockefeller.
The following year, he kidnapped the couple's young daughter, leading to a manhunt that ended with his arrest in Baltimore and the girl's rescue.
Los Angeles prosecutors will ask that bail be set at $10 million for Gerhartsreiter's in the 1985 murder case. If convicted, he faces 26 years to life in prison.
Likely every state has a slayer statute that basically says a person cannot inherit from a person that they murder in order to prevent improper conduct of people seeking to gain wealth in that way. The Florida slayer statute says if the greater weight of the evidence shows someone intentionally and unlawfully acted to bring about the death of another than they would be prohibited from inheriting from them. A conviction or even criminal charge is not necessary in Florida and the standard would be more likely than not whether the slayer statute requirements were satisfied.
He was able to pretend to be a member of one of the countries wealthiest families and fool a Harvard graduate and many others for well over a decade but as typically happens the truth eventually came out.