Serial Killer John Arthur Getreu Sentenced to Seven Years to Life for 1973 Murder: On Thursday, April 27, a California court sentenced convicted serial killer John Arthur Getreu to seven years to life in prison for the 1973 murder of Stanford law librarian Leslie Perlov.
Currently 78 years old, the aforementioned individual is already serving a life sentence in the California Health Care Facility for his involvement in two separate homicide cases.
Cold Cases to Convictions
Getreu was suspected of at least three murders between 1963 and 1974, as well as a fourth murder and an attempted murder. Leslie Perlov’s murder remained unsolved for decades before being reopened in 2018. California authorities used advances in forensic technology to connect John Arthur Getreu to crimes committed in the 1970s.
The first slaying Getreu was convicted of occurred in 1963 in Bad Kreuznach, West Germany, as the son of a US Army Sergeant Major. He allegedly assaulted and murdered the unnamed teenage daughter of a US Army Chaplain when he was 19 years old. He only served two years of a 10-year sentence because he was considered a juvenile under German law before being paroled and deported to the United States.
An Ongoing Brutality Pattern
Leslie Perlov was murdered in 1973 by John Arthur Getreu at Stanford. After his release in 1974, he strangled Janet Ann Taylor, 21, to death. In 1975, while serving as a guardian for a girl scout troupe in Palo Alto, California, he assaulted a 17-year-old girl scout. He strangled the victim, but she survived. He would eventually serve ten months in prison for the incident. Getreu was married with children at the time and presented himself as a normal civilian working as a security guard.
Furthermore, Getreu was accused of several other assaults, including alleged systematic abuse of his stepdaughter and a death threat made against another Girl Scout. Authorities believe his death toll could be higher.
DNA Analysis and Arrest
California authorities used advances in forensic technology in 2018 to connect Getreu to the crimes he committed throughout the 1970s. In 2021, authorities located him in Hayward, California, where he resided with his wife. After more than 40 years, he was convicted of Janet Ann Taylor’s murder in September of that year.
Getreu’s DNA has now been entered into the state database, and it will be used in several other cold cases with similar motives to his proven crimes. “The long nightmare of John Getreu is over,” said Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen of the case. I hope this brings some comfort to the loved ones of those he preyed on. And I hope I never have to mention his name again.”
The crimes of John Arthur Getreu and the authorities’ efforts to bring him to justice have spanned decades. While his conviction is a relief, it serves as a reminder that justice can take a long time and that the work of law enforcement agencies never truly ends. The families of his victims can find solace in the fact that he will spend the rest of his life in prison.