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Blood stains found at California estate where ‘Rockefeller’ lived

ALHAMBRA, Calif. – Large blood stains were found in the guesthouse that was once the home of the man formerly known as Clark Rockefeller, who is now charged with bludgeoning to death a computer programmer and burying his remains, according to testimony in a criminal hearing yesterday.

Four stains were found in the San Marino guesthouse by investigators who scoured its premises in 1994, when the remains of John Sohus were discovered nearby in the yard. Some of those stains, which were found with the help of the chemical agent, luminol, looked as if they had been wiped, testified Lynne Herold, a criminalist at the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

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By 1995, the case had gone cold.

But in 2008, authorities returned to the house on Lorain Road. The only person authorities had linked to the disappearance of John and Linda Sohus had been arrested on other charges: Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter was being held by authorities for kidnapping his daughter in Boston.

Authorities “wanted to go back to the [house] with new technology that had since developed and see if the second person that they believed to be missing [Linda Sohus] could possibly be buried in the backyard,’’ Herold said. “They also wanted to look again in the [guesthouse] for the presence of blood.’’

They found no new traces of blood. Linda Sohus was never seen again, and police now believe she is dead.

Prosecutor Habib Balian has yet to present any DNA or physical evidence tying Gerhartsreiter to the crime. None of the blood Herold described yesterday was tied to the defendant.

During her testimony, Herold said she had examined the clothes found on John Sohus’s remains. The shirt on the torso had cuts in it that appeared to have been made by a sharp object. Those cuts could have been made as the victim tried to defend himself, she said.

Yesterday, during the third day of the preliminary hearing to determine whether Gerhartsreiter should be tried on first-degree murder charges, his lawyers insinuated that Linda Sohus could be a suspect instead of him. Boston-based attorney Brad Bailey asked one witness, a friend of John Sohus, about the considerable height and weight differences between the husband and wife. Linda Sohus was around 6 feet tall and somewhat heavy; her husband was no more than 5 foot 6 and weighed about 145 pounds.

“She was also pretty muscular, wasn’t she?’’ Bailey asked Sohus’s childhood friend, Patrick Rayermann.

“I never had the opportunity to observe whether she was muscular,’’ Rayermann replied.

During testimony by Linda Sohus’s former boss, Lydia Marano, who owned a book store, Bailey focused on the types of books she sold: fantasy, science fiction, and horror.

He pointed out that Linda Sohus liked working in a store that dealt in the macabre.

“In fact, she not only enjoyed them, she even posed her husband in some sort of themed costume,’’ Bailey said, referring to a black, hooded robe John Sohus wore in a photograph.

“That was during a Halloween party,’’ Marano replied. “Everyone was dressed up.’’

Balian introduced several witnesses who said the couple were loving and never fought.

“They were inseparable,’’ Marano said. “They were very much in love, and they were just too cute for words.’’

Maria Cramer can be reached at mcramer@globe.com. Follow her on twitter @GlobeMCramer.
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