Psychology Expert Witness In Rockefeller Alias Case

The man who calls himself Clark Rockefeller was sentenced Friday to four to five years in state prison for his conviction in the kidnapping of his daughter last summer, ending a colorful chapter in the bizarre saga of the German national whom police call a “person of interest” in an ongoing California homicide investigation. Rockefeller’s two lawyers tried to cast him as a mentally disturbed man who believed in the fantasy world he had created and said he should be acquitted on grounds of insanity.

But the jury rejected the defense argument and found Rockefeller guilty on two of the four counts against him: parental kidnapping and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon. The defense presented two experts who testified that Rockefeller’s mental illnesses caused him to believe in his invented lives, including that he was a member of the storied Rockefeller family. “Expert witness testimony figured prominently,” jury foreman Michael Gregory said. The state’s psychology expert witness countered that Rockefeller suffers from a mental disorder but exaggerated his symptoms and was legally sane when he abducted his daughter.

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