Another Stanford murder solved? Suspect charged in grisly 1974 cold case – California


A Hayward man arrested last fall on the basis of DNA evidence for murdering a woman near Stanford University in 1973, has now been tied to another notorious unsolved killing that rocked the campus more than four decades ago, the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office announced Thursday.

Authorities said they have charged John Arthur Getreu, a former security guard, with the March 1974 killing of Janet Ann Taylor, a 21-year-old who disappeared while hitchhiking from the campus to her home in La Honda. Taylor, the daughter of a former Stanford athletic director and football coach, was later found strangled to death in a ditch on Sand Hill Road.

Getreu has been in custody since November, when Santa Clara County investigators charged him with strangling 21-year-old Leslie Perlov to death and leaving her body in the hills near campus. Perlov, a recent Stanford graduate who had been working at the North County Law Library in Palo Alto, was killed 13 months before Taylor, and authorities have long wondered if there was a connection between the crimes.

The women were among four young people with ties to Stanford who were murdered on or near the campus between 1973 and 1974,  a shocking spate of violence made worse by the fact that each of the cases went unsolved for decades.

With Thursday’s announcement, however, investigators now say they have solved three of the four murders, all within the last year.

In June, Santa Clara County investigators announced they had found the man who killed 19-year-old Arlis Perry inside Stanford Memorial Church in October 1974, a case that riveted the Bay Area and sprouted theories that the “Son of Sam” serial killer or even Satanic cults might have been involved.

In fact, authorities said, it was a former Stanford security guard named Stephen Blake Crawford who killed Perry. Crawford took his own life as deputies prepared to serve a search warrant in the case at his San Jose apartment on June 28.

The murder that remains unsolved is that of David Levine, a 19-year-old junior who was found stabbed to death outside Meyer Library in September 1973.

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