John Arthur Getreu is jailed in San Mateo County today after he was found guilty at trial in the murder of Janet Ann Taylor. He is also awaiting trial in the murder of Leslie Marie Perlov, another woman who was murdered in a series of 1970s murders that came to be known as the “Stanford murders.” Getreu is now 77.
The murders of three women in 1973 and 1974 went cold for decades until DNA evidence linked Getreu to the murders of Taylor and Leslie Marie Perlov. He is also scheduled to face trial Perlov’s murder. Getreu was an employee at Stanford University at the time of the murders, according to The Mercury News. A second suspect, Stephen Blake Crawford, was linked to the murder of Arlis Perry, also committed around Stanford University within a 19-month period, according to ABC News.
ABC 20/20 is digging into the Stanford murders in a new episode that airs at 9 p.m. Eastern time Friday, September 17, 2021.
Here’s what you need to know:
Getreu Is Lodged in San Mateo County Jail, Awaiting Sentencing in Taylor’s Murder Case & Awaiting Trial in Perlov’s Case
Getreu was found guilty in the murder of Taylor on September 14, 2021, following a trial that lasted nearly one month, according to the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office. Charges were filed 45 years after Taylor’s death when DNA evidence linked Getreu to the case, the statement said. He was found guilty of first-degree murder, and his sentencing is scheduled for November 5, 2021. The trial in the Perlov murder case is scheduled for 2022, the The Mercury News reported.
Here is Getreu’s jail record:
Getreu had already been charged in the murder of Perlov, a Stanford graduate whose body was found February 16, 1973, before he was linked to Taylor’s case. Perlov, like Taylor, had been strangled, The Mercury News reported.
Getreu will be transferred back to the San Mateo County Jail after his sentencing, the news outlet reported. His jail record shows his bail is set at $10 million in Taylor’s murder and he is denied bail with a detainer in Perlov’s death.
DNA Evidence Linked Getreu to the Murders of Perlov & Taylor Decades After Their Deaths
It took decades for investigators to receive a break in the cold cases that eventually linked Getreu to the murders, according to the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office, who began investigating the case after Taylor’s body was found in 1974.
“The murder investigation was assumed by the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office but for many years, Taylor’s murder remained unsolved despite the efforts of law enforcement,” the statement said.
The case was reopened in 2017 when new forensic technology allowed for a possible match, the sheriff’s office said. They received a report from the county’s forensics laboratory on January 3, 2019, saying a partial DNA profile matched Getreu.
The DNA link was made through genealogy analysis after investigators “surreptitiously obtained” a DNA sample, The Mercury News reported. Getreu’s DNA sample was a partial match to samples taken from Taylor’s clothing, the news outlet reported.
“Once again, this shows the incredible value of DNA evidence. This case was made exclusively on DNA evidence,” San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe told The Mercury News. “We’re grateful to modern science.”