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Suspect Kills Himself 44 Years After Gruesome Church Murder

Steve Crawford shot himself after cops knocked on his door
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 29, 2018 3:37 AM CDT
Arlis Perry.   (Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office)
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(Newser) – A man linked by DNA to a 1974 ritualistic church killing on the Stanford University campus apparently killed himself in his San Jose apartment Thursday after detectives knocked on his door to serve a search warrant, authorities say. Steve Crawford, 72, was a security guard who claimed to have found the body of 19-year-old Arlis Perry inside the Stanford Memorial Church, a chapel on the university campus, in October 1974. Perry had fought with her new husband and had come to the church at night to pray, CBS San Francisco reports. Perry was found with an icepick in the back of her head and was naked below the waist. She had been molested with a 3-foot altar candle and another candle had been placed between her breasts, investigators reported.

"Crawford had been a person of interest since the beginning of the investigation," Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith says. "Our detectives continued to piece together additional information to this tragic puzzle and we were able recently to link Crawford's DNA to the crime scene." Police and sheriff's deputies went to Crawford's apartment Thursday morning to serve a search warrant. Deputies talked to the resident through the closed front door but when they entered the apartment, they saw a man with a handgun and immediately backed away, a San Jose Police Department statement said. "A short time later a gunshot was heard," the statement said. When deputies re-entered the apartment they found the man dead, police said.

(Read more cold cases stories.)

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