Sheriff: Suicide note found at murder suspect's home | July 6, 2018 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - July 6, 2018

Sheriff: Suicide note found at murder suspect's home

Former security guard was about to be arrested for 1974 murder in Stanford Memorial Church

by Sue Dremann

Editor's note: The details in this article may be disturbing to some readers.

The baffling 1974 case of the murder of a 19-year-old woman in Stanford Memorial Church has finally been solved, Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith told reporters last week, following the suicide of the primary suspect, Stephen Blake Crawford, as detectives closed in on him.

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Editor Jocelyn Dong contributed to this report. Staff Writer Sue Dremann can be emailed at [email protected]


Posted by Reader
a resident of another community
on Jun 30, 2018 at 1:18 am

"Investigators had had contact with Crawford and Perry's family throughout the years."

Regarding the grammar of the above:

The writer only needs to say "had" once. In this context, by definition the word "had" refers to the past tense.

I realize that "had had" is often said, but it is redundant and incorrect grammar.

Example: Investigators had contact with Crawford and Perry's [families] throughout the years.

Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jun 30, 2018 at 2:42 am

^ That syntax looks perfect to me, in fact past perfect.

Posted by Media Approach
a resident of another community
on Jun 30, 2018 at 7:47 am

Yes, past perfect would be correct as those events are clearly in the past and are finished in the past. Let’s hope there is closure now for Bruce Perry, the second victim of this crime.

I would love if journalists would pay close attention to the motivation of killers to immortalize themselves; please only mention their names as much as is necessary. Let’s immortalize those we grieve and not the criminals. At several points in this article, the word “the suspect” could have been used instrad of the criminal’s name. I regularly read science articles in which I have to really work to track back to find the name and institution of a researcher who is being quoted. Why should it be any easier to find the name of a murderer? I can understand the interest in making the information available once, but a concerted effort should be made to ensure it’s only enough to help the public come forward if anymore info is needed, but no more. Likewise with the perpetrator’s photo, I am capable of expanding it in my screen if I want, but I don’t. I want to know he’s been caught and the case solved, nothing more.

Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 30, 2018 at 8:23 am

The number of times it makes sense to repeat the word "had" in the same sentence was one of those discussions I remember from my schooldays. Here is a puzzle I remember doing in school. Web Link Eleven times had can be used correctly in a sentence.

Posted by Just a kid in '74
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 30, 2018 at 11:54 am

I was twelve years old and living in Palo Alto in 1974. I don't remember hearing about the murder - maybe my parents kept it from their children so we wouldn't be afraid. Palo Alto was a great place to be a kid back in 1974. Children were expected to go out and play in the summer and on the weekends and be back before dark. My siblings and I would hop on our bikes and ride all around town and Stanford campus. My parents and my friends' parents didn't seem to worry, even with a murderer on the loose. Times/attitudes sure have changed.

I'm so sorry for Perry's family and friends, for the sorrow and anguish they suffered after her brutal murder, and especially for Arlis Perry whose life was ended in such a horrific way. She was in a church saying a prayer - seeking comfort after an argument with her husband. Makes me so sad.

Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jun 30, 2018 at 12:36 pm

Oh, that Maury Terry book - so many conspiracy theories! The whole North Dakota connection, satanic panic, the Process Church, the alleged animal killings in the Santa Cruz mountains. The only good thing to come out of that mess is Best Friend Animal Sanctuary. Then this horrific murder being solved - and it comes down to one of the original suspects, still living locally, and highly unlikely to be part of the Process Church. I hope that's the case.

Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jun 30, 2018 at 3:11 pm

"During this time there were a lot of serial killers in this area"

No appropriate rejoinder to that statement.

Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 1, 2018 at 9:49 pm

"Said Smith: "In homicides, even in cold cases, we have a warehouse of evidence. We keep the evidence for life, even when there's a conviction." "

I sure hope that the backlog of untested DNA evidence will start getting cleared soon. As has been seen in some recent high-profile cases, one of these nasty people can cause an enormous amount of damage. The (estimated) 13,000 untested rape kits in evidence storage would sure be a good place to start.

Web Link

Posted by HorseGal
a resident of another community
on Jul 3, 2018 at 5:03 am

There is some part of me that yearns for an alive capture of these murderers. I guess I want answers for myself and for the family of the victim. I think we all do. Why don’t police always wait until the perpetrator leaves the house to arrest as in the Golden State Killer case? It seems to make more sense. Why give them time to kill themselves or remove evidence? For that matter, why even let them know they are a suspect if it is a DNA based case? Obtain discarded DNA, process DNA, if there is a match, wait until Suspect leaves the house and arrest. No knocking on doors and no hinting in any way that authorities suspect you. Catch them completely off guard. Make them face their crime and consequences.

Posted by Sleuth
a resident of Mountain View
on Jul 4, 2018 at 9:27 am

Why does this article not have the opinions or reactions of his "ex wives"? How many "ex wives" did he have?

They may have damning things to say about his behavior, but not even an attempt to contact them?

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