Alleged 'Stanford Murders' Serial Killer Convicted in 1974 Murder of Chuck Taylor's Daughter

John Arthur Getreu, who previously worked at Stanford University, was convicted of killing Janet Taylor 48 years after she was found murdered on the side of the road near the university's campus

Provided by the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office shows John Arthur Getreu
Photo: Uncredited/AP/Shutterstock

A former Stanford University employee has been convicted in the murder of Janet Taylor, the daughter of famous football coach Chuck Taylor.

Janet, 21, was found murdered along the side of the road near Stanford's campus in March 1974. Now, 48 years later, a jury took just about an hour to determine John Arthur Getreu was guilty of killing the young woman, ABC News reported of the "Stanford murders" Tuesday.

Getreu, 77, was previously convicted in the 1975 rape of 18-year-old "Diane Doe" in her parents' home, as well as the 1963 rape and murder of 15-year-old Margaret Williams in Germany, according to the San Mateo County District Attorney. Getreu has also been charged with the 1973 murder of Leslie Perlov, a Stanford graduate, for which he pled not guilty. He will be tried next year.

Janet's body was discovered by a truck driver decades ago when she was found beaten and strangled by the Stanford campus. While the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office took on the murder investigation back in 1974, they were unable to solve the case until 2017, when the Cold Case Unit Detectives picked up the murder investigation once more, according to a press release sent out by the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office.

Janet Taylor
San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office

Getreu was arrested for Perlov's murder in 2018 after detectives found a DNA sample on a piece of evidence that matched Getreu, CBS San Francisco reported. His 2018 arrest led to Getreu being charged with Janet's murder in 2019, after investigators linked his DNA profile from Perlov's case to Janet's "using DNA evidence that was obtained from a discarded coffee cup," according to the outlet.

After detectives "re-contacted numerous prior witnesses, located and interviewed new witnesses, processed evidence, consulted with the FBI, and conducted a deeper background check," they moved ahead with Janet's murder trial, which began Aug. 11 and ended Tuesday when he was found guilty of killing the college sophomore decades ago, the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office stated.

Prosecutor Josh Stauffer described Getreu's crime as "sexually motivated," per ABC News, telling jurors that the Stanford employee was both a family man and a Boy Scout leader, but also led a dark life out of the public eye.

Stanford University
Getty Images

"He took her with the intent to rape her," Stauffer said in his closing statements, referring to Janet. "He attacked her. Tore her clothes. Struck her in the face. Repeated punches to the face. He strangled her."

John Halley, Getreu's defense attorney, said in closing statements that prosecution had not proven his client's guilt "beyond reasonable doubt."

Getreu's son Aaron Getreu told ABC News he has sympathy for his father's victims and told the outlet he and his family had no knowledge of the secret life Getreu led.

"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."

Sheriff Carlos Bolanos said in a press release, "Though it has taken 47 years, Investigators with the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office have never wavered in their desire to bring justice to the family of Janet Taylor."

He added, "Through the collaborative efforts of the Investigations Cold Case Unit, the Sheriff's Investigations Bureau, and the District Attorney's Office, we are proud to have finally secured a guilty verdict and closure in this horrific case. I would finally like to thank the jury for all their hard work and dedication to seeking out the truth. Ms. Taylor, you are not forgotten."

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