Skip to main content

Serial killer sentenced for 1973 stanford hills murder of law librarian

For release on April 27, 2023


Michel Amaral
Deputy District Attorney
Homicide Unit 
(408) 808-3782

Serial killer sentenced for 1973 stanford hills murder of law librarian

Serial killer John Arthur Getreu was sentenced today to seven years to life for the murder of 21-year-old Leslie Perlov on February 13, 1973. Effectively, with his other murder conviction for another young woman, the 79-year-old retired security guard responsible for decades of violence and mystery, will not be up for parole until at least 2031.

Getreu escaped justice for over 40 years before Santa Clara County Sheriff’s detectives, using DNA and determination, tracked him down living with his wife in Hayward.

He pleaded guilty to this crime on January 10, 2023.

“The long nightmare of John Getreu is over,” District Attorney Jeff Rosen said. “I hope this brings some measure of peace to the loved ones of the people he preyed upon. And I hope that I never have to say his name again.”  

The sentencing brings to a legal end a saga that left two young women dead and detectives using advances in modern forensic genealogy to solve stubborn cold cases. 
Getreu was convicted in Germany in 1963 for the rape and murder of 15-year-old Margaret Williams.

Last year, Getreu was convicted by a jury in San Mateo County for the 1974 murder of 21-year-old Janet Taylor. During that trial, the jury also heard about Getreu’s repeated sexual assaults on his stepdaughter between 1970 and 1977 and his raping and threatening to kill a 17-year-old girl participating in a youth program where Getreu volunteered.   

Ms. Perlov was a Stanford graduate working at a local law library. Today, after hearing statements about Leslie from her brother and sister, the Honorable Hanley Chew sentenced Getreu to serve his term consecutive to the 7-years to life prison sentence he is already serving for the murder of Janet Taylor.  

Getreu’s DNA is now in the state database and will regularly be compared to DNA from unsolved rapes and murders in hopes of solving more cold cases. 


Tagged in: