On the second day of testimony in the Gerhartsreiter muder trial, the jury heard a description of John Sohus’ death based on physical evidence.
Dr. Frank Sheridan, the San Bernardino County Coroner, reviewed the fractures in Sohus’ skull and said they “occurred at or about the time of death.”
“When they happened the victim was still alive, but died very soon after,” he said. “That’s what I determined from these fractures. ”
Sheridan, who has performed nearly 9,000 autopsies, said the fatal blows were delivered to Sohus’ skull with a blunt, perhaps rounded, object and rendered with a force as high as 1,000 pounds per square inch.
Sheriff’s criminologist Lynne Herrold testified about the plastic book bags that held John Sohus’ head, the condition of Sohus’ clothing, and blood evidence in the guest house where Gerhartsreiter lived when he was Chichester in San Marino.
The plastic bag containing Sohus’ head came from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. That style was only used from 1979 to 1983, testified a university bookstore manager. Gerhartsreiter was a student at the university in during that period.
Herrold stated that in June 1994 investigators using luminol detected four blood spots in the guest house. One of the stains was 25 inches wide. It is still unknown how long the blood had been there, who it belonged to and whether it is human blood, she said.
She testified that based on the small cuts in the shirt Sohus had on when buried it appeared he had been stabbed six times, and discoloration of those cuts indicated they occurred about the time he died. The cuts, she said, were to the left shoulder of the shirt and the left elbow, suggesting Sohus’ arm was raised when the cuts were inflicted or that he was cut from behind.
Two acquaintances of Gerhartsreiter also testified about his life history, Ed Savio, a San Francisco screenwriter whose family hosted Gerhartsreiter in 1978 and early 1979, and Elmer Kelln, a Loma Linda man who first met Gerhartsreiter in Bavaria in 1978.
Here are links to local news reports.
Pasadena Star News
Witnesses recall fake Rockefeller as teen who loved America
Los Angeles Times
Fatal blows described in Rockefeller impostor case