Fresh Details on Mystery Man Clark Rockefeller as Trial Opens

Eleven jurors selected in abduction trial of man known as Clark Rockefeller.

May 25, 2009, 4:36 PM

BOSTON, May 26, 2009— -- When the man who calls himself Clark Rockefeller was captured for kidnapping his 7-year-old daughter last year, his ex-wife had an urgent question for the police.

Grabbing the arm of a Boston police commander, Sandra Boss wanted to know, "Who is he? Did you find out who Clark really is?"

By then, Deputy Police Superintendent Tom Lee had learned that Rockefeller's real name was Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter and that he was also being eyed in connection with the unsolved homicide of a California couple. He had used the name Rockefeller since 1993 while claiming to be a physicist, an art dealer and a mathematician, police said.

Today 11 jurors, six men and five women, were selected and another five are expected to be empanelled Wednesday. Opening arguments are sscheduled to begin Thursday morning.

Gerhartsreiter emerged from 10 months in jail today when jury selection began in his abduction trial.

Clean shaven and freshly-groomed in a gold-button Navy blue sport coat, a red tie, pressed khaki pants and loafers without socks, he looked every bit the moneyed trust fund blueblood that he pretended to be for decades. He listened silently as the lawyers went through the long process of selecting his jury.

That was in stark contrast to his disheveled appearance during the time he was held at Boston's Nashua Street jail. One prison source said Rockefeller had grown a long "Grizzly-Adams-like beard" at the jail.

Despite the fact that one of the charges against him is giving police a false name, his lawyer argued that the defendant be referred to as Clark Rockefeller.

The well-coiffed defendant listened as Superior Court Judge Frank Gaziano ruled that prosecutors could refer to him as Gerhartsreiter, while his defense attorneys could call him Rockefeller.

For his own part, Graziano declared he will refer to the 48-year-old accused conman, who was indicted as Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter a.k.a. Clark Rockefeller, as "the defendant."

Also revealed in court today is the fact that one of the witnesses to be called in the trial is Amy Jersild Duhnke, who married Rockefeller in 1981 in Madison, Wis., so the German immigrant could get his green card. Divorce papers filed 11 years later show that Rockefeller left her the day after the wedding.

On the days after the eccentric Rockefeller snatched little Reigh "Snooks" Boss off a tony Boston street during a supervised visit last July, the question Sandra Boss had asked was also on the minds of investigators across the country as they launched two simultaneous investigations.

One was focused on finding the girl. The second was unraveling Rockefeller's real identity.

"He is at the center of the longest con I have ever seen in my professional career," Suffolk County District Attorney Dan Conley said after Rockefeller's arrest in a $450,000 Baltimore condominium he had purchased to hide with his daughter.

Clark Rockefeller's Lawyer Will Argue Client Is Insane

Jurors will now have to decide if Rockefeller is a career con man or psychologically disturbed. His attorney, Jeffrey Denner, plans to argue that his client is insane, a man who truly believes he is a descendent of oil tycoon John D. Rockefeller, a claim that the wealthy family has steadfastly denied.

"We are prepared to go forward and look forward to picking a jury," Denner told ABC News. Denner insists that his client suffers from symptoms of delusion and grandiosity.

If Rockefeller is not insane, he is certainly odd. FBI profilers noted that he does not use metal utensils, will not eat bread unless it is white Pepperidge Farm with the crusts cut off, and that he met Sandra Boss at a Clue party where she was dressed as Scarlett O'Hara and he was Colonel Mustard. The two fell for one another while speaking Klingon, the language spoken by some on the TV series "Star Trek."

Prosecutors believe Rockefeller is not only sane, but a savvy schemer. Conley claims Rockefeller planned the kidnapping of his daughter months in advance.

While visiting his daughter with a social worker along, a car pulled up and Rockefeller tossed his daughter into the vehicle, pushed the social worker to the ground, and sped off.

ABC News learned that Sandra Boss had also hired a private detective to shadow Rockefeller during the visit, but the detective quickly lost the fleeing car.

Alleged Con Man Known as Rockefeller Eyed for California Double Murder

Boss, a Harvard Business School graduate, divorced Rockefeller in 2007, and gave him $800,000 in a settlement that allowed her ex-husband to see their daughter just three times a year with a social worker present.

She told investigators she realized Rockefeller was a liar when she hired a forensic investigator to pour through their finances and learned that her husband was broke.

Investigators have since learned Rockefeller is a person of interest in the slayings of a newlywed couple he once lived with at their home in California; that he married a Wisconsin woman and then later fled the state; that he was an exchange student who lived with families in Connecticut; and that he applied for a broker's license using the name Christopher Chichester.

There is currently a grand jury investigation into the unsolved slayings. Denner has asked a judge not to allow jurors to hear about that case or about Rockefeller's other aliases.

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