John Arthur Getreu’s trial in the murder of Janet Ann Taylor resulted in a guilty verdict this week, decades after her death. Getreu was named as a suspect in two of the three murders that came to be known as the “Stanford murders.”
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:
A Jury Deliberated for Only One Hour Before Finding Getreu Guilty of Taylor’s Murder
It took 45 years for charges to be filed in the murder of Taylor, but only one hour for a jury to decide whether Getreu was guilty, according to the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office. On March 24, 1974, sheriff’s deputies responded to Sandy Hill Road, where the body of Taylor was found near Interstate 280, the sheriff’s office said. She had been strangled and dumped in a ditch alongside the road, the statement continued.
“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. He was already jailed as a suspect in another one of the Stanford murders in the case of Leslie Marie Perlov, The Mercury News reported.
The trial in Taylor’s murder lasted nearly a month, and a jury found Getreu guilty on September 14, 2021, of first-degree murder, the sheriff’s office said. His sentencing is scheduled for November 5, 2021, and the trial in the Perlov murder case is scheduled for 2022, The Mercury News reported.
Sheriff Carlos Bolanos Said Taylor Has Not Been Forgotten
Officials and the family of Taylor said that although it took 47 years to find closure in her murder case, she was never forgotten.
San Mateo County Sheriff Carlos Bolanos said in a statement:
Though it has taken 47 years, Investigators with the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office have never wavered in their desire to bring justice to the family of Janet Taylor. Through the collaborative efforts of the Investigations Cold Case Unit, the Sheriff’s Investigations Bureau, and the District Attorney’s Office, we are proud to have finally secured a guilty verdict and closure in this horrific case. I would finally like to thank the jury for all their hard work and dedication to seeking out the truth. Ms. Taylor, you are not forgotten.
Taylor’s family also issued a statement to The Mercury News. It said:
We are pleased with the results of the trial. We miss Janet, but have many great memories of her. We want to thank the detectives and the DA’s office for all their effort and hard work in solving the case, and for the support and kindness they have always shown to our family.