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Suspect in 1974 Cold Case Allegedly Shoots, Kills Self in SJ


A suspect believed to be connected to a 1974 cold case allegedly shot and killed himself at a San Jose apartment complex Thursday while authorities attempted to conduct a search warrant, according to Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith.

At about 9:05 a.m., sheriff’s office detectives were serving a search warrant near Merrill Drive and Camden Avenue in connection with the decades old homicide case.

Deputies made verbal contact at a closed front door with an occupant in the apartment. As deputies made entry, they observed a man with a handgun, and the deputies immediately backed away, according to San Jose police.

A short time later, a gunshot was heard. Deputies eventually re-entered the residence and discovered a man, later identified as Steve Crawford, with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. He was pronounced dead at the scene, police said.

Sheriff’s detectives believe Crawford was connected with the slaying of Arlis Perry, 19, who was found dead and naked from the waist down at Stanford Memorial Church on Oct. 13, 1974. 

“It was an extremely brutal homicide in a church at Stanford,” Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith said.

Crawford was the security guard who found Perry with an ice pick in back of her head, several candles near and on her body. Police collected DNA samples from semen found at the scene, the Stanford Daily reported.

Smith says the department’s homicide unit has been working the case “actively” since it occurred.

At the time of her death, Perry had just moved from North Dakota to the Bay Area to be with her husband, Bruce Perry, who was attending Stanford, according to a book “The Ultimate Evil“ by journalist Maury Terry. 

Detectives were able to get DNA evidence retested, and authorities received more information, which led them to the Crawford at the San Jose apartment complex, Smith said.

No officers were involved in the shooting Thursday, Smith said.

Stanford University released a statement later Thursday.

“We extend our gratitude to local law enforcement for their efforts over decades to try to resolve this disturbing case. It remains a heart-wrenching memory at the university. Stanford has been cooperating with investigators over many years, and we know they’ve been working tirelessly to try to bring this case to a conclusion.”

The Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office and the San Jose Police Department’s Homicide Unit are conducting a joint criminal investigation, police said.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area
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Source: NBC Bay Area

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