Guilty verdict re John Sohus for Gerhartsreiter. His sentencing is scheduled for June 28, 2013. He faces 25 years to life in prison for the murder conviction, plus two additional years because the jury also found that he personally used a blunt object and a sharp instrument as weapons. It was not a death penalty case.
In February of 1985, John (26) and Linda Sohus (28) disappeared from their home in the 1900 block of Lorain Road in San Marino, California. In 1981, prior to their disappearance, Gerhartsreiter arrived in San Marino. He eventually rented a guest house from Ruth Sohus, the mother of John Sohus. Shortly after John and Linda’s disappearance, Gerhartsrieter also disappeared.
On May 5, 1994, during a swimming pool excavation on the Lorain Road property, unidentified human remains were unearthed by the construction crew. San Marino Police were called to the scene, followed by Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau personnel and Los Angeles County Coroner’s personnel. Those remains were eventually identified as John Sohus. Linda Sohus was never heard from or seen again, and her remains have not been found. Efforts to locate Gerhartsreiter in 1994 failed and the case went cold. From 1994 to 2008, Gerhartsreiter was still a suspect in this case. Once Gerhartsreiter was found in 2008, Detectives Tim Miley and Delores Scott from the Cold Case Unit of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Homicide Bureau, reopened the investigation into the murder of John Sohus.
Gerhartsreiter’s lawyers claimed Sohus was killed by his wife, who has been missing since the couple vanished. Prosecutors ridiculed that theory. However, they conceded no motive had been presented during the three-week trial for the killing of Sohus.
In building a case against Gerhartsreiter, the prosecution had to overcome an array of obstacles. There was no DNA, fingerprints or other forensic evidence identifying the killer. Most of the victim’s remains were mistakenly destroyed in 1995.
UPDATE: on August 16, 2013 Gerhartsreiter was sentenced to 27 years to life for the murder of John Sohus. Linda is still missing and presumed dead.