Convicted Bay Area serial killer John Getreu dies in prison

A convicted serial killer who was serving two life sentences for the rape and strangulation of two women near Stanford University 50 years ago, has died.

John Arthur Getreu, 79, died last Friday while in state prison at California Health Care Facility in Stockton, according to the California Department of Corrections. He died of natural causes. 

Getreu was sentenced this year in the 1973 murder of 21-year-old Leslie Perlov. Perlov was a Stanford Law librarian and an alum of the university.

Her body was found in the hills that overlook the Stanford campus. 

Getreu was also convicted in 2021 in the 1974 murder of Janet Taylor. The 21-year-old was the daughter of former Stanford University athletic director Chuck Taylor.

Janet Taylor had been hitchhiking near the university campus when she encountered Getreu, who strangled her to death. Her body was discovered on the side of a road by a truck driver.

Getreu was a former employee of the Stanford Medical Center. He had been working as a security guard elsewhere at the time of the killings.

Genealogical DNA testing linked him to Taylor and Perlov's killings. Authorities said both women were sexually assaulted and strangled to death.

Getreu had also spent five years in prison after being convicted in the rape and death of a woman in West Germany in 1964.