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Family And Friends Gather To Remember Man Murdered By Rockefeller Impostor

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LA CANADA FLINTRIDGE (CBS/AP) — Family and friends gathered Wednesday evening in La Canada to remember a man murdered by a conman who pretended to be a member of one of the richest families in America.

Twenty-seven-year-old computer programmer John Sohus and his wife, Linda, disappeared in 1985.

While Linda remains missing, John Sohus’ body was found in 1994, buried in the backyard of his mother’s former San Marino home.

A jury in April found Christian Gerhartsreiter, who once used the alias Clark Rockefeller, guilty of killing him.

At Wednesday’s memorial, John’s sister, Ellen Sohus, said her family can finally move on with his conviction.

Ellen spent a lot of time watching her brother’s killer in court but has little to say about him.

“I think he is ill. I think he is not well,” she told KCAL9 News.

The memorial was meant to coincide with Gerhartsreiter’s sentencing, which was scheduled for Wednesday. It has since been postponed to August.

Still, Ellen said the memorial was not about Gerhartsreiter, but about John and his wife.

“Many people have this common bond with Linda and John, and so it is just a really nice event. Really nice,” Ellen said.

Gerhartsreiter, who lived briefly in California in the 1980s, went by many names in the years following the disappearance of the Sohus newlyweds.

He eventually moved to New York, began working as a bonds trader on Wall Street, married and had a child. His identity unraveled when he kidnapped their daughter during a custody dispute.

The resulting publicity led authorities in San Marino to revisit the Sohus disappearance, and to Gerhartsreiter’s eventual conviction.

Gerhartsreiter could face a maximum sentence of 25 years to life in prison, plus two additional years because the jury also found that he used a blunt object and a sharp instrument as weapons in Sohus’ murder.

His lawyers have said they plan to appeal.

Gerhartsreiter’s sentencing is scheduled for August 15.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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