Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter, the conman who posed as a member of the famed Rockefeller family for decades has been sentenced to a maximum of five years in a Massachusetts state prison after being found guilty of kidnapping his daughter and assaulting a social worker with a dangerous weapon.
He could of been sentenced for up to a total of 15 years on both charges if served consecutively.
Gerhartsreiter's ex-wife Sandra Boss and social worker Howard Yaffe, who was assaulted during the kidnapping, requested in their victim statements that Gerhartsreiter be given the fullest sentence under the law.
"While Reigh was gone, I faced a mother's worst nightmare, the possibility of losing a child without a trace," Boss said in her victim statement.
But Suffolk Superior Court Judge Frank Gazianon said that he was taking into account Gerhartsreiter's first-time offender status and his seemingly genuine love for his daughter Reigh.
It was during a post-divorce, supervised visitation with his daughter that Gerhartsreiter grabbed Reigh and ordered the driver of an SUV to speed off, sending Yaffe, who was trying to rescue Leigh, out of the vehicle, and tumbling to the street.
Gerhartsreiter and Reigh were found six days later in a Baltimore town home that he had purchased a few months earlier.
Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel Conley said the verdict was "fair and just" and said hoped it gives Gerhartsreiter's ex-wife Sandra Boss and her daughter "some sense of justice...this was a difficult ordeal for this family," he said.
Boss who was not in the courtroom for the verdict, issued a statement after the sentencing, saying she was relieved. ?While this has been a trying and difficult time, I am pleased to now be able to move on, focusing on the future and continuing to provide my daughter with a normal, healthy, and happy childhood.?
Defense attorney Jeffrey Denner expressed disappointment that the jury did not buy the insanity defense, but conceded that "it was an uphill battle," especially since there was no record Gerhartsreiter ever sought help for any mental health disorders.
Denner said his client had a "flat" reaction to the verdict and did not say much.
In addition to the four to five years for the kidnapping conviction, Gerhartsreiter was also sentenced to a two- to three-year term for the assault, to run concurrently with the kidnapping sentence. He will serve his terms at the Massachusetts Correctional Institute in Concord, Mass.
Denner had asked for a sentence of zero to 24 months in prison, citing his client's "diminished" mental capacity. Gerhartsreiter, Denner said, never intended to hurt his daughter.
"You have a guy who loved his daughter too much and made huge mistakes" in showing that love, Denner said.
Lawyers for Gerhartsreiter, who went by the name Clark Rockefeller, among other aliases, had maintained during the trial that the German immigrant was insane and suffering from delusions when he took off with daughter Reigh "Snooks" Boss last July. Denner even told the jury during closing arguments that "this is not a man playing with a whole deck."
Despite the two convictions, the jury found Gerhartsreiter not guilty of giving law enforcement a false name and not guilty of a second assault charge that included battery.
Though he entered the courtroom with a smirk on his face, he showed little emotion during the reading of the verdict and once mouthed "Oh s***" after the second guilty verdict.