PALO ALTO, Calif. (KRON) — A serial killer who terrorized Stanford University in the 1970s pleaded guilty on Tuesday to murdering the university’s law librarian.
The body of Leslie Perlov, 21, was found in hills that overlook Stanford’s campus on February 16, 1973. A floral scarf was tightly knotted around her neck and had been used as a ligature to strangle her to death, prosecutors said.
The homicide investigation to catch Perlov’s killer went cold for 45 years until a criminalist with the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office matched DNA found under Perlov’s fingernails to John Arthur Getreu.
He was formally charged with the young woman’s murder in 2018.
“Justice for Leslie Perlov and her loved ones took a very long time, but it is has arrived,” Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen said. “This serial rapist and murderer will spend the rest of his life in prison.”
“Getreu is believed to have committed a string of sexual assaults and at least three slayings, two part of a pattern in the 1970s commonly known as ‘The Stanford murders,'” prosecutors wrote.
Getreu lived near Stanford’s campus in Palo Alto during the time of his killing spree.
He was also convicted of murdering 21-year-old Janet Taylor, who was found strangled along Sand Hill Road in the foothills near Woodside. She was slain just a few months after Perlov.
Taylor’s father, Chuck Taylor, was Stanford University’s athletic director and football coach. The San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office convicted Getreu in 2021 for Janet Taylor’s homicide.
After murdering Perlov and Taylor, Getreu raped a 17-year-old Palo Alto girl inside her parent’s home in 1975. “Diane Doe” testified that Getreu strangled her and threatened to kill her if she cried out for help, according to The Almanac.
Once Getreu is sentenced on April 26 for Perlov’s murder, he will spend the rest of his life in prison, prosecutors said.
According to state prison inmate records, Getreu is now 78 years old and incarcerated in California Health Care Facility Stockton with nearly 3,000 other inmates. The facility’s website states, “CHCF provides mental health treatment to inmates who have the most severe and long term needs. This facility provides both outpatient and inpatient mental health services for patients with a serious mental disorder.”
Inmate records do not indicate what type of mental health disorder Getreu is being treated for.