John Getreu

John Arthur Getreu has been arrested and charged with two cold case murders. The first is the March 24, 1974 murder of 21-year-old Janet Ann Taylor in Woodside, California. Taylor, the daughter of a Stanford university coach, was strangled with her own sweater while walking to her home near the Stanford campus.

Getreu is also charged with the February 13, 1973 murder of 21-year-old Leslie Marie Perlov in Santa Clara, California. Perlov’s body was also found on the Stanford campus. She worked as a clerk at the Law Library in Palo Alto. She had been sexually assaulted and was strangled to death with her sister’s scarf.

Getreu had been convicted in 1964 of the rape and murder of a 16-year-old girl in Germany where he lived while his father was stationed as a sergeant major in the U.S. army. The killing took place on June 8, 1963. The girl is reported to be the daughter of an Army chaplain at the base. Getreu was tried as a juvenile offender, and he returned to the U.S. after serving about 2 years of a 5-year sentence. He was also accused in a 1975 home invasion rape of a 17-year-old Palo Alto girl. He pled guilty to statutory rape and was given a sentence of six months in jail with 5 months suspended.

Diane Perlov, Perlov’s sister, attended his bail hearing and asked the court that he be denied bail. She stated to Lee that, “While justice doesn’t heal all wounds, it is the least we can do.”

On September 14, 2021, a jury in San Meteo County found Getreu guilty of Taylor’s murder after deliberating for about an hour.

Kahng reports that, “When called for comment about today’s verdict, Getreu’s only son Aaron Getreu asked to convey sympathy to Taylor’s family and all his father’s victims.
“My family had no clue about my father’s past and have nothing but sympathy for all of his victims,” he said. “We only knew him as a loving father and grandfather, but science doesn’t lie. With this conviction I hope these families can now have closure.””

Getreu pled guilty to the murder of Leslie Perlov in January of 2023. On April 27, 2023, he was sentenced in Santa Clara County Superior Court to life in prison with the possibility of parole in 7 years for the murder of Perlov. This sentenced will be served consecutive to his sentence for killing Taylor.


Bay City News. “Convicted Killer Pleads Guilty to 1973 Murder of Stanford Law Librarian.” NBC Bay Area News, January 11, 2023. Accessed January 21, 2023.

Dowd, Katie. “Police Think They’ve Solved the Long-Cold Murder of Stanford Football Coach’s Daughter.” SFGate, May 16, 2019. Accessed December 15, 2020.

Dremann, Sue. “Serial Killer John Getreu Pleads Guilty to 1973 Murder of Leslie Perlov.”, January 10, 2023. Accessed January 13, 2023.

Dreman, Sue. “Victim’s Green Pants to be Key Piece of Evidence in Serial Killer Case.” The Almanac, November 7, 2019. Accessed December 15, 2020.

Kahng, Grace. “Alleged ‘Stanford Murders’ Serial Killer Convicted of 1974 Cold Case Murder.” ABC News, September 14, 2021. Accessed September 19, 2021.

Lambe, Jerry. “Serial Killer Sentenced in Cold Case Murder of Law Librarian Strangled to Death with Scarf.” Law & Crime, April 28, 2023. Accessed May 2, 2023.

Lee, Lloyd. “Alleged Serial Killer Pleads Not Guilty in 1973 Murder Case.” The Almanac, December 4, 2019. Accessed December 15, 2020.

Salonga, Robert. “‘She Fought Desperately’: Arrest in 1973 Killing of Stanford Grad After DNA Genealogy Probe.” Mercury News, November 21, 2018, last modified November 23, 2018. Accessed December 15, 2020.


First Name John
Last Name Getreu
Other Names
Victims 2 (Details)
IGG Started 2018-07-00
Case Cleared 2018-11-20
IGG Org Parabon


Case ID Name Age Case Opened Location Investigating Org Most Serious Charge Disposition Court
1138 Leslie Perlov 21 1973-02-13 Santa Clara, CA Santa Clara CSO First degree murder Guilty plea entered by defendant Santa Clara CO SUP CT
1208 Janet Taylor 21 1974-03-24 Woodside, CA San Mateo CSO First degree murder Accused was convicted after a trial Santa Clara CO SUP CT

Last updated: February 9, 2024

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Case data and narrative licensed under CC BY 4.0: Dowdeswell, Tracey (2023), “Forensic Genetic Genealogy Project v. 2022”, Mendeley Data, V1, doi: 10.17632/jcycgvhm96.1. All other content, including photos, have been added.