The 74-year-old man who has been charged in the 1970s cold-case murders of Stanford University graduate Leslie Marie Perlov and La Honda resident Janet Ann Taylor, both 21, has been a Boy Scouts troop leader, the "exalted ruler" of the Fremont Elks Lodge, a businessman, father, grandfather and husband.
Some who have known John Arthur Getreu have seen a seemingly normal person, a kindly man who left presents for neighbor kids at Christmas, a medical technician who worked for Stanford and Mills hospitals, a carpenter who loved woodworking.
For at least four years, from 1971-75, Getreu lived in the Midtown neighborhood of Palo Alto. Directories from that time show he resided on Avalon Court, off of Loma Verde Avenue, and at an apartment complex on Alma Street at East Meadow Drive.
But others have harbored deep suspicions that Getreu -- who now sits in a cell in the Santa Clara County Main Jail -- was a violent predator who could be getting away with rape or murder. There was the brother of the teenage girl whom Getreu, then 18, raped and murdered in Germany in 1963. There was the Palo Alto teenager whom Getreu was convicted of raping in 1975. And then there was the sister of Leslie Perlov, who -- even as the murder remained unsolved for more than four decades -- always suspected her sister had been the victim of a serial killer.