Another day — and no verdict — in ‘Rockefeller’ case

June 11, 2009 04:29 PM

(David L. Ryan/Globe Staff)

Clark Rockefeller on Wednesday in Suffolk Superior Court.

By Maria Cramer and Andrew Ryan, Globe Staff

A Suffolk Superior Court jury has concluded its deliberations for the day in the parental kidnapping trial of the man who calls himself Clark Rockefeller.

Judge Frank Gaziano

The jury, which began deliberating after closing arguments Monday and has spent three full days since, was sent home at about 4 p.m. today.

On Wednesday, the jury asked a judge what prosecutors had to prove in the case in which the defendant has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. Judge Frank Gaziano told the jury that prosecutors had to prove that Rockefeller understood the legal and moral consequences when he kidnapped his 7-year-old daughter last summer after a bitter divorce.

“The Commonwealth does have to prove the defendant could appreciate the criminality or legal import and the wrongfulness or moral import of his conduct,” Gaziano told the jurors. “Further, when you asked ‘Or can the Commonwealth meet its burden by proving just one of these?’ The answer to that question is no.”

Rockefeller, 48, has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to the kidnapping charge. He is also accused of giving police a false name and two counts of assault on a social worker supervising the July 27 visit with his daughter in the Back Bay. Prosecutors allege that the defendant is really Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter, a con man who came to the United States as a German exchange student in 1978 and never left.

The question about the legal definition of insanity gets to the crux of the case, which hinges on dueling diagnoses from mental health experts, who gave contradictory testimony.