Widgets Magazine

A history of murder at Stanford

With the 40th anniversary of the murder of Arlis Perry occurring on Oct. 13, The Daily took a trip through the archives to recap a history of murder at Stanford.

  • 1933: David Lamson ’25, University Press advertising manager, was convicted of murdering his wife, Allene Thorpe Lamson ’26, and sentenced to death. Lamson, age 31, “discovered” his wife’s body in the bathtub of their home and left the Stanford campus split in opinion about whether or not he was guilty. The crime was covered by Time magazine, and Lamson was released in 1936 after a fourth hung jury.
  • 1958: Sophomore Tom Cordry walked into the Palo Alto police department to report his own killing of 17-year-old Deena Bonn, his neighbor. Cordry said he had often felt the “urge to kill” but had resisted the urges until then. He tricked Bonn into driving him to the train station and then killed her, with the intention of raping her and then dumping her body in the hills. He instead thought better of it and drove to the police department to report the crime.
  • 1969: Leslie Kulhanek, a physician from the Medical Center, was shot and killed at a Christmas party. Rudolph Gray, a computer attendant at the Medical Center, was charged with murder. Apparently, Gray was dancing with Kulhanek’s wife, and an argument ensued that ended in Kulhanek’s death.
  • 1973: Leslie Marie Perlov ’72 was found strangled in the foothills behind campus. She had walked near the intersection of Stanford Ave. and Junipero Serra Blvd. and was found with her blue scarf wrapped tightly around her neck. No leads or clues were present.
  • 1973: Junior David Levine left the physics department at 1 a.m. He was apparently caught by surprise in front of Meyer Library and was stabbed in the back and side 15 times with a long knife. Some theorized the incident to be the work of the “Death Angels” group. Cold case.
  • May 1974: Janet Ann Taylor, 21, daughter of former athletic director Chuck Taylor, was found strangled by hand near the intersection of Mayfield Ave. and Junipero Serra Blvd. The murder was strangely similar to Perlov’s: died by strangulation, not molested, missing purses and found barefoot in raincoats. Cold case.
  • July 1976: Edward McNeill, postdoctoral researcher in chemistry, was found strangled and bound with adhesive tape in his Menlo Park apartment.
  • 1978: Graduate student Theodore Streleski murdered math professor Karel deLeeuw. Streleski turned himself in within 12 hours and ultimately served seven years in prison following his conviction for second-degree murder based on diminished capacity. He had used a hammer to repeatedly bash deLeeuw’s head for making “derogatory remarks about his appearance and for interfering with his study of mathematics.” Streleski then placed a sign on deLeeuw’s office door saying the professor had no office hours that day due to a family emergency.
  • 1982: Junior Angela Arvidson was working as a housekeeper for professor Laurence Kedes part-time to pay for law school. On her fourth day on the job, Kedes’ son came home around 3:15 p.m. to find a trail of blood leading to Arvidson lying on a couch and having been stabbed multiple times in the chest, abdomen and throat. She was still breathing when Kedes’ son called 911. Donald Amos, a deliveryman, became a suspect after Kedes found a delivery receipt for trash bins on his driveway. After a three-week search, Amos turned himself in at a San Jose jail. He allegedly had had an alcohol induced blackout and had found Arvidson’s body in the foyer. He said he then moved her to the couch to “make her more comfortable” before panicking and leaving. Amos was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to 15 years in prison.

Contact Victor Xu at vxu ‘at’ stanford.edu.

About Victor Xu

Victor Xu '17 is an editor and graphics designer. An economics major, he hails from Carmel, IN. He is interested in international development and Kanye West. To contact Victor, email him at vxu ‘at’ stanford.edu.
  • Local Observer

    Nothing for 32 years, that is awesome! Crime in the U.S. has also steadily decreased over the years and worldwide war fatalities stats have cratered. Be sure to include that kind of information in your reporting, Victor, you certainly don’t want to be just another member of the media out to depress the American public.

  • sfstiles

    Remember Jane Lathrop Stanford murder in 1905 :: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jane_Stanford

  • clibou

    Arlis Perry found murdered in MemChu, near the altar, unsolved since Oct. 13, 1974.

  • Candid One

    The adjacent neighborhoods had their continuance of violence after that spate of on-campus incidents. From 1971 to 1979, the College Terrace rapist had 20-25 victims. In 1992, East Palo Alto had the highest murder rate in the nation; the demographics of EPA have changed but it revived it’s violence in recent years as it continued as an area of gang turf conflict. Ties to the Mexican cartels are known.

    Incidents still happen on campus that fringe on mortal violence because of complacency. Off-campus “visitors” are common. As gentrification continues to afflict the SF Peninsula, particularly EPA, Redwood City, East Menlo Park, Mountain View, etc., some of the local violence will move elsewhere. However, a reputation of complacency has a way of being known…ripe targets.

    Students aren’t the primary targets but the University has had a history of incidents that were facilitated by its continual construction projects. The numerous and sundry construction companies and their subcontractors have become increasingly vetted as the result of burglaries and stolen equipment–from academic buildings–as construction projects finished. Time on campus allows a familiarization that can amount to “casing the place”; that’s no longer allowed with the casual protocols of previous decades. Some former familiar contractors have been banned from campus for contract violations related to various kinds of security crimes and infractions by their employees.

  • nicholasstix

    “Crime in the U.S. has also steadily decreased over the year…”

    Doubtful. Google under “Disappearing Urban Crime”; “From Compstat to Fakestat: The Epidemic of Fraudulent Official Crime Reports”; and “Stix Vindicated!
    Academics, Magazine Confirm Big City Police are ‘Disappearing’ Crime.”

    Nicholas Stix, Uncensored