Tech CEO Arrested in 1992 Mountain View Chilly Case Slaying After DNA Breakthrough


Mountain View Police Department

Mountain View Police Division

On Sept. 5, 1992, pc engineer Laurie Houts, 25, was discovered fatally strangled in her automobile close to a California rubbish dump. Her boyfriend’s roommate was arrested in reference to the case, however two trials—and two hung juries—later, a decide dismissed the case. The roommate moved to the Netherlands quickly afterward.

Over the weekend, the roommate—now the chief govt of a small software program firm—was arrested as he landed at John F. Kennedy Worldwide Airport in New York Metropolis, based on the Santa Clara County Workplace of the District Legal professional.

John Woodward, the 58-year-old CEO and president of ReadyTech, is predicted to be extradited to Santa Clara County by the top of the month, District Legal professional Jeff Rosen stated Monday. As soon as there, Woodward can be arraigned for the third time in Houts’ homicide by strangulation.

“I used to be thrilled and really excited,” Houts’ sister advised The Mercury Information. “Then you definitely come down off that. Nothing goes to deliver your cherished individual again. They’re gone. Even when it feels good in a option to have justice, it doesn’t remedy the issue. It’s not like should you win, you get your sister again.”

Houts’ physique was found by a passerby lower than a mile from her workplace at Adobe Programs in Mountain View greater than 30 years in the past, based on the San Francisco Chronicle. A rope was round her neck, and there have been footprints on the within of her windshield, which have been referred to as “an indication of her battle with Woodward” by the district lawyer’s workplace.

Forensic science on the time was capable of match Woodward to fingerprints discovered exterior the automobile, however investigators couldn’t show that he had been contained in the automobile.

Nonetheless, when Houts’ boyfriend made a name, monitored by police, to Woodward quickly after the 25-year-old’s demise, he “didn’t deny” killing Houts. As an alternative, based on a police abstract of the matter, Woodward requested what proof the authorities had towards him and instructed to the roommate that they “meet in a parking zone” to speak extra.

Woodward, who had no alibi for the night time Houts was killed, was arrested that very same 12 months. Prosecutors alleged that Woodward had developed an “unrequited” romantic curiosity in Houts’ boyfriend. The speculation was criticized as homophobic at Woodward’s first trial by his protection lawyer in 1995, the The Mercury Information reported Monday, and the jury deadlocked on his innocence, voting 8-4 for acquittal.

A 12 months later, regardless of a decide barring the romantic-rival argument, the jury listening to Woodward’s second trial once more hung itself, this time ruling 7-5. The decide quickly dismissed the case for inadequate proof.

However advances in DNA know-how allowed detectives to hyperlink Woodward to the rope round Houts’ neck for the primary time final 12 months, Rosen’s assertion stated. Investigators in each the Santa Clara County Crime Lab and Mountain View Police Division matched each Woodward’s genetic materials and fibers on his sweatpants to “the homicide weapon,” police stated.

Woodward was arrested after federal brokers alerted native authorities to his imminent arrival from Amsterdam. Dutch authorities, the district lawyer stated, had additionally obtained a warrant and had seized numerous digital gadgets from his house and enterprise.

ReadyTech, which is headquartered in Oakland and has an workplace within the Netherlands, didn’t instantly reply to an electronic mail despatched by The Each day Beast to the corporate’s common info tackle.

“I would like Ms. Houts’ household and pals to know that we by no means gave up on her,” Rosen stated Monday. “Neither time nor distance will cease us from discovering out the reality and searching for justice.”

Houts’ household additionally launched an announcement after Woodward’s arrest was introduced, remembering their daughter’s coronary heart, humor, and spunk.

“The best way Laurie lived and handled individuals was a surprising instance of what was proper on this planet,” they stated, based on CBS Information’ Bay Space affiliate. “She was a gem to so many, however her vivid life was taken from us on the age of 25. We’re hopeful that justice can lastly be served for Laurie and extremely appreciative of the legislation enforcement companies who’ve by no means given up on her.”

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