John Woodward was charged with the 1992 murder of Laurie Howts




In September 1992, Laurie Hots, a 25-year-old computer engineer, was found strangled in her car near her office in Mountain View, California. The San Jose Mercury News reported at the time that a three-foot-long nylon rope was still around her chin, mouth and neck, tightened with a square knot.

John Kevin Woodward, her boyfriend’s roommate, has been identified as the prime suspect. His fingerprints were found on the exterior of the car, and prosecutors argued that Woodward’s motive was his jealousy over his roommate’s romance with Houts.

Woodward denied in court the allegations. But over the course of two trials in the 1990s, the jury was unable to reach a verdict, and the judge eventually dismissed the case due to insufficient evidence. Woodward was not guilty or acquitted, he moved to Holland.

Now, Woodward, CEO of ReadyTech, a training software company, has been charged with murder again, the Santa Clara County District Attorney Announced this week. Prosecutors say they have new evidence linking him to the murder weapon. Prosecutors said Woodward, 58, was arrested this month in New York after arriving from Amsterdam, and that he will be extradited to California for possibly a third trial. They said that if convicted, Woodward would face life in prison.

Woodward’s lawyer did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the Washington Post late Wednesday. Said Dr. Todd. Greenberg New York times Woodward is “keen to get to the California courts to answer these charges, which he vehemently denies.”

in statementThe Houts family thanked law enforcement, and said they hoped “justice can finally be served to Laurie.”

“She won’t come back. It makes us angry, it makes us sad, and we hope justice will be done,” Houts friend Marilyn KGO . said. “But the hole in our hearts will never heal.”

ReadyTech said in a statement to The Times that Woodward’s arrest “has been a shock to all of us” and that the company “has the utmost sympathy with the families involved.”

On September 5, 1992, Houts planned to do some work before meeting her boyfriend, Brent Vollmer, who was Woodward’s roommate, Mercury News reported at the time. The couple, who had only been dating for five weeks, had plans Later for a wedding.

Later that day, a Hoots runner was found dead in her car about a mile from her office near a garbage dump, according to Mercury News and prosecutors. Investigators suspected that Hautes knew the killer and allowed him to get into her car. After strangling Houts, the killer drove the car into a nearby street, left it and attempted a burglary by throwing Houts’ purse over a fence, Mercury News reported.

A month later, Woodward was arrested and charged with murder.

Prosecutors said Woodward’s fingerprints were on the roof of Hoots’ car, as well as on the passenger door, Mercury News reported. They also argued that Woodward had become romantically attached to Vollmer and was jealous of Vollmer’s relationship with Hotts.

Woodward’s defense argued that the jealousy claim was anti-gay, and the judge ultimately ruled that the claim lacked sufficient evidence to prove it, Mercury News reported. The defense also argued that Woodward inadvertently left his fingerprints on Hoots’ car while it was parked at his apartment complex days before the murder.

Mercury News reported at the time that the first trial resulted in a suspended jury. At the second trial, the jury also went to acquittal, but a verdict was not agreed upon, and the trial was declared erroneous. A judge refused to allow a third trial, citing insufficient evidence. The case remained open.

Now, nearly 30 years after the Houts murder, Santa Clara County prosecutors say they have the evidence needed to bring the case against Woodward for the third time. They say investigators tied Woodward to the remaining rope around Houts’ neck using improved DNA technology.

Prosecutors then issued a warrant for his arrest for murder, according to the Mountain View Police Department. Authorities arrested Woodward at John F. Kennedy International Airport on Saturday.

“I Wanna [Ms. Houts’s] “Family and friends should know that we have never given up on her,” Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen said in a statement. “Neither time nor distance will prevent us from knowing the truth and searching for justice.”

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