Suspected serial killer hospitalized just before trial is to begin

John Arthur Getreu

Daily Post Staff Writer

Suspected Palo Alto serial killer John Getreu, 76, who is expected to go on trial next week in San Mateo County, may not make it to court because he is in the hospital, a prosecutor said yesterday.

Getreu is in the hospital for “significant medical conditions,” according to District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe, who didn’t know more about Getreu’s illness. However, Getreu is not hospitalized due to COVID, Wagstaffe said.

Getreu’s attorney has to talk to his doctor to find out if he can begin trial proceedings on Monday. Both prosecution and defense attorneys are otherwise ready to begin the trial in front of Judge Robert Foiles.

Getreu is facing trial for the March 25, 1974, strangulation murder of Janet Ann Taylor, 21, who was killed as she was leaving the Stanford campus. Her body was dumped on Sand Hill Road near Woodside in San Mateo County.

Taylor was the daughter of former Stanford athletic director Chuck Taylor. Her death was one of five murders on or near the Stanford campus between 1972 and 1976.

Getreu is later scheduled to go to trial in Santa Clara County for the Feb. 13, 1973 murder of Leslie Marie Perlov, a Stanford grad student and a law clerk, was found strangled in the hills west of campus.

Attorneys are set to meet on Wednesday to discuss Getreu’s case in Santa Clara County.

If Getreu’s trial is put off in San Mateo County because of his health problems, his trial in Santa Clara County will also be postponed too.

He was arrested in November 2018 by Santa Clara County deputies at his Hayward home after evidence from the Perlov case was re-tested for DNA, similar to how the Golden State Killer was found.

After he was arrested, San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office announced charges against Getreu in May 2019 after looking through the Taylor evidence to find a piece of DNA.
He has been in jail on no bail since November 2018.