A notorious Bay Area serial killer and rapist who evaded authorities for over 40 years until he was finally captured in 2018 has died in prison at the age of 79, reports ABC San Francisco.
According to the station, John Arthur Getreu passed away on September 22 inside of the California Health Care Facility, a state prison in Stockton, California.
Getreu, a native of Ohio, was convicted of three murders in his life, the rape and killing of a high school girl in Germany on a US Army Base in 1963, and the strangulations of two women in the Bay Area.
The killer spent just six years in prison in Germany for the death of the high school student. He was released in 1969 and moved to California where he continued his heinous crimes.
In 1973, Getreu killed Leslie Perlov, a graduate of Stanford University. A year later, he murdered Janet Taylor, the daughter of legendary Stanford football coach Chuck Taylor. The killing took place close to the school’s campus.
Serial killer John Arthur Getreu died last Friday in prison, 50 years after he murdered Stanford University graduate Leslie Perlov
Janet Taylor, the daughter of legendary Stanford football coach Chuck Taylor, was found beaten, strangled and left on the side of the road near the campus on March 24, 1974.
A year before Taylor’s murder, Getreu murdered 21-year-old Leslie Petrov
He was finally arrested in November 2018 at his home in Hayward, just east of San Francisco. Getreu was linked to the crimes thanks to advances in DNA.
Investigative journalist Grace Kahng told the ABC affiliate in the aftermath of Getreu’s death that there are ‘a dozen other cases that we believe he is responsible for.’
Kahng added that she believes authorities ‘are very close’ to fingering Getreu for other murders.
She added that Getreu’s son, Aaron, has actively worked with investigators in order to establish what other crimes the killer is responsible for.
Prosecutor John Stauffer said that Getreu’s crimes were sexually motivated and used DNA evidence to identify Getreu in Taylor’s death, according to ABC News.
Santa Clara County sheriff’s deputies were able to take DNA evidence from a coffee cup that Getreu had thrown away matched with DNA found on the torn green pants of Taylor.
Investigators could not conclusively determine whether Taylor had been raped.
Getreu was an employee at the school at the time of the murder.
He was a supposed family man and Boy Scout leader in his Palo Alto, California hometown.
However, as prosecutor John Stauffer said during the killer’s first trial for the murder of Leslie Perlov, he was also living a double life predator, having previously been convicted for rape and murder.
In closing arguments, Stauffer mentioned two of Getreu’s other known victims: Diane Doe, a 17-year-old rape victim, and 15-year-old Margaret Williams, who Getreu killed in 1963 while he lived in Germany.
In the Doe case, Getreu took a guilty plea deal for statutory rape, paid a $200 fine and was sentenced to six months in jail.
In the Williams case, Getreu was convicted in Germany and tried as a juvenile in 1964 and sentenced to 10 years in prison. He was released in 1969 and returned to the United States.
Taylor is one of multiple women Getreu is accused of either murdering or sexually assaulting
John Arthur Getreu was previously employed by Stanford University in California (pictured), where two of his alleged victims were students
Police released this photograph of Perlov’s orange Chevy Nova, discovered the day she died abandoned at the entrance of an old quarry
Another woman, Sharon Lucchese, has accused Getreu of attempting to murder her in 1969.
The DNA evidence match, which was aided by using a genetic genealogy website, was used to tie Taylor and Perlov’s cases together to Getreu. They had found DNA under Perlov’s fingernails that gave detectives a break in the case.
Getreu pleaded not guilty in Perlov’s case, which he also did in Taylor’s case. The Perlov case was scheduled to begin in September 2020, but was delayed due to Getreu suffering a brain aneurism.
Stauffer told the jury that this was a pattern of behavior from Taylor, noting the similarities in the cases.
‘He took her with the intent to rape her. He attacked her. Tore her clothes. Struck her in the face. Repeated punches to the face. He strangled her, ‘ said Stauffer.
In closing arguments, Getreu’s attorney John Halley asserted that the prosecution had not proved Getreu’s was guilty ‘beyond reasonable doubt.’
Getreu’s son Aaron expressed remorse when contacted about the verdict.
‘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.’