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California serial killer sentenced in 1973 'Stanford murders' slaying

John Arthur Getreu, 79, was given a prison term of seven years to life for the murder of Leslie Perlov, a Stanford graduate and law librarian.

A California serial killer was sentenced Thursday for the murder of a 21-year-old Stanford graduate and law librarian in a crime that had eluded authorities for decades, officials said.  

John Arthur Getreu, 79, was given a prison term of seven years to life for the 1973 murder of Leslie Perlov, the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office said in a news release.

He was already serving a life sentence for another killing, the 1974 murder of Janet Taylor, 21.

The California killings were part of a pattern known as the “Stanford murders,” the statement said.

“The long nightmare of John Getreu is over,” Santa Clara District Attorney Jeff Rosen said in a statement. “I hope this brings some measure of peace to the loved ones of the people he preyed upon. And I hope that I never have to say his name again.”  

Perlov’s body was found on Feb. 16, 1973, in the hills overlooking the Stanford University campus, the prosecutor’s office said in an earlier news release. A floral scarf had been used to strangle her, according to the statement.

Getreu was arrested in 2018 after authorities in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties teamed up to solve the killings.

He pleaded guilty to the crime in January after DNA found under Perlov’s fingernails linked him to the killing, the statement said. 

Prior to his arrest, Getreu had been living with his wife in Hayward, about 27 miles southeast of San Francisco, the prosecutor's office said.

Getreu was convicted in 2021 in nearby San Mateo County for Taylor's killing. She was the daughter of Stanford's football coach, Chuck Taylor.

Taylor, who had been strangled, was found dead on a road south of San Francisco on March 25, 1974, the San Mateo County District Attorney's Office said. DNA taken from her pants linked Getreu to her killing.

Getreu had previously been convicted for the 1963 rape and murder of Margaret Williams, 15, in Germany, and a rape in 1975 in San Mateo County, California, the local prosecutor’s office said.