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Suspect in ‘brutal’ 1974 Stanford church cold case slaying kills himself when deputies arrive

The suspect in a gruesome 1974 cold case slaying killed himself Thursday -- the same day that Santa Clara County sheriff’s deputies executed a search warrant on a property in San Jose.

Sheriff Laurie Smith told reporters outside the home that the suspect “shot and killed himself,” but she did not specify if it was before or after deputies arrived to conduct their search.

For the record:
2:30 PM, Jun. 28, 2018 An earlier version of this report misidentified Arlis Perry as Alris Perry.

The investigation, she said, was related to “an extremely brutal homicide in a church at Stanford” in 1974. The warrant was being served in the 5200 block of Camden Avenue in San Jose, according to media reports. The identity of the suspect was not released.

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Although authorities did not release details of that cold case on Thursday, an Oct. 14, 1974, Los Angeles Times article describes a homicide investigation at a Stanford University campus church.

On Oct. 13, 1974, a Stanford Police Department commander discovered the body of 19-year-old Arlis Perry. The young woman was found “strangled and left spread-eagled on the floor of a century-old campus church…by a slayer who used a pair of 3-foot-long candles in an apparent ritualistic torture,” according to a Los Angeles Times report the following day.

Perry was found lying face-up in the huge Romanesque-style church on the campus grounds with two large candles with her body. She was nude from the waist down, The Times reported.

Perry’s husband told police she’d left to go to church after midnight – a common occurrence for her when the couple had problems, the article says he told police.

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joseph.serna@latimes.com

For breaking California news, follow @JosephSerna on Twitter.


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