Gerhartsreiter Murder Trial Starts Today

Linda and John Sohus

Linda and John Sohus. Photo by Lydia Marano, taken at her Dangerous Visions Bookstore.

“Only his lawyers still call him ‘Mr. Rockefeller,’” begins Christiane Heil’s trial preview for the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. (It’s in German, so I resorted to Google Translate.)

Heil sent me some questions over the weekend and I responded by explaining my interest in the Sohuses and why I’ve pursued the case through File 770. Here’s the essence —

At its peak in the 1980s, LASFS’ weekly club meetings attracted 150 attendees. That’s when John Sohus and Linda Mayfield Sohus were active. John assisted in the club library for awhile.

I was acquainted with both of them, but wasn’t among the friends who socialized with them outside of club meetings.

A lot of people passed through the club, and when members marry that often leads them in another direction. After John and Linda married, eventually I stopped seeing them around. I didn’t attach any significance to it. Initially I didn’t consider it a “disappearance.” However, in time, some of their closer friends wondered what happened to them and asked around the club for information. Nothing was known until John’s body was discovered almost a decade later.

I didn’t meet or hear about Gerhartsreiter (under that name or his alias) in those days.

I started following the story once Gerhartsreiter was named as a suspect because the victims were fans I had once known. I feel outrage against what we now know happened to them. Beyond that, I feel the same sadness as when I hear another club member has passed away (from health reasons), who died alone and is discovered later — that it’s somehow unfair to go alone. In John’s case, he met a terrifying end, which also makes me want to follow this case because the person who did it (if Gerhartsreiter is that person) should not get away with it.

Having written so often about the case I’ve certainly thought about attending the trial, unfortunately, my hearing (even with hearing aids) is so bad I probably wouldn’t be able to follow what’s going on. However, Frank Girardot’s coverage for the Pasadena Star-News has been excellent and I’m relying on him for the daily details.