A man led Palo Alto police on a harrowing foot chase and standoff after they tried to arrest him for smashing car windows at Stanford Shopping Center on Nov. 5. He ran across El Camino Real to a hotel balcony in Menlo Park, repeatedly threatened to shoot officers, police said.
Initially reported as a disturbance, the incident rapidly escalated to involve a crisis negotiator and police taking cover, according to a press release. At around 1:45 p.m., Stanford Shopping Center security personnel called police dispatchers regarding the man, who allegedly yelled at patrons, threatened passersby and spat on store windows at the mall at 180 El Camino Real.
Shopping center security told police they wanted to place him under a private person's arrest if he didn't leave the property.
The man then ran into the parking lot and allegedly swung a metal water bottle and shattered the rear windows of two unoccupied vehicles.
Police chased him to an outdoor area of the Stanford Park Hotel at 100 El Camino Real in Menlo Park, where he placed his hand into his jacket pocket and threatened multiple times to shoot and kill the officers before climbing up to a second-floor balcony.
Police fired pepperball rounds at a wall near him followed by a less-lethal projectile weapon that struck him in the hip area.
The man eventually surrendered. Police found he did not have any weapons in his possession.
He was booked into the Santa Clara County Main Jail on suspicion of felony vandalism, misdemeanor obstructing a business establishment and misdemeanor resisting arrest.
— Sue Dremann
Getreu receives life sentence for 1974 murder
Calling the string of strangulation murders and sexual assaults by John Arthur Getreu "evil and despicable crimes," San Mateo County Superior Court Judge Robert Foiles sentenced the 77-year-old man to life in prison and a $5,000 fine on Friday for killing Janet Ann Taylor 47 years ago.
"Words cannot begin to express my sorrow in this case," Foiles said.
A jury convicted Hayward resident Getreu of first-degree murder and infliction of great bodily injury on Sept. 14 after a scant hour of deliberation. His trial lasted 18 days. He murdered Taylor, 21, on March 24, 1974, while she was hitchhiking home after visiting a friend. Her body was found in a ditch on Sand Hill Road near Manzanita Way. The La Honda woman had been strangled, beaten and sexually assaulted.
Witnesses, including his family, a former wife, the family of another murder victim and another victim who survived an assault by Getreu provided testimony during his trial.
On Feb. 16, 1973, Leslie Marie Perlov, also 21, was found strangled in a remote area near what is now the Stanford Dish hiking trail, which isn't far from where Taylor's body was found 13 months later. Getreu has been charged with, but not yet tried for, Perlov's murder.
It was nearly 50 years until modern DNA testing linked him to the Taylor and Perlov murders.
Getreu will appear in Santa Clara County Superior Court for a trial-setting conference for Perlov's murder on Jan. 19.
— Sue Dremann
Court unlikely restore binding arbitration for public safety workers
More than a decade after Palo Alto voters overwhelmingly passed a measure that removed binding arbitration for public safety workers from the city charter, the legal battle between the city and its primary firefighters union continues to wind its way through the court system.
But despite an earlier determination that the city had failed to negotiate with the International Association of Firefighters, Local 1319, before placing the measure on the 2011 ballot, the decision seems unlikely to be reversed. That much was made clear in a September preliminary decision from Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Cynthia C. Lie, who agreed with the union's assertion that the city unlawfully exercised its authority in placing the measure on the ballot but who declined the union's request that the measure be invalidated.
Barring a change of course, the preliminary ruling represents a nominal victory but a practical defeat for the union, which prevailed in its arguments that the city acted illegally but which failed to achieve its overarching goal of reinstating binding arbitration — a provision that had been in the city charter since 1978 before the council asked voters to remove it. Lie concluded that the union is the prevailing party in the suit and ordered the city to negotiate with its public safety unions about a possible restoration of the binding arbitration provision. Once that happens, the city is required to consult "in good faith" with all relevant unions that accept the city's invitation to do so.
— Gennady Sheyner