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

Mountain Look at Police Section

On Sept. 5, 1992, laptop engineer Laurie Houts, 25, was uncovered fatally strangled in her car or truck around a California rubbish dump. Her boyfriend’s roommate was arrested in relationship with the scenario, but two trials—and two hung juries—later, a decide dismissed the circumstance. The roommate moved to the Netherlands shortly afterward.

About the weekend, the roommate—now the chief executive of a little computer software company—was arrested as he landed at John F. Kennedy Intercontinental Airport in New York Town, in accordance to the Santa Clara County Business office of the District Lawyer.

John Woodward, the 58-calendar year-aged CEO and president of ReadyTech, is anticipated to be extradited to Santa Clara County by the close of the month, District Attorney Jeff Rosen claimed Monday. When there, Woodward will be arraigned for the third time in Houts’ murder by strangulation.

“I was thrilled and incredibly enthusiastic,” Houts’ sister informed The Mercury News. “Then you arrive down off that. Practically nothing is going to convey your cherished man or woman back. They’re gone. Even if it feels very good in a way to have justice, it does not overcome the difficulty. It is not like if you get, you get your sister again.”

Houts’ system was identified by a passerby a lot less than a mile from her office at Adobe Programs in Mountain Look at extra than 30 yrs ago, in accordance to the San Francisco Chronicle. A rope was all around her neck, and there had been footprints on the inside of her windshield, which had been referred to as “a sign of her struggle with Woodward” by the district attorney’s office.

Forensic science at the time was in a position to match Woodward to fingerprints located outside the house the auto, but investigators could not establish that he experienced been inside of the car or truck.

However, when Houts’ boyfriend created a phone, monitored by police, to Woodward shortly right after the 25-yr-old’s death, he “did not deny” killing Houts. As a substitute, according to a police summary of the matter, Woodward asked what evidence the authorities had from him and proposed to the roommate that they “meet in a parking lot” to communicate extra.

Woodward, who had no alibi for the night time Houts was killed, was arrested that exact same 12 months. Prosecutors alleged that Woodward had made an “unrequited” intimate fascination in Houts’ boyfriend. The principle was criticized as homophobic at Woodward’s initially trial by his defense law firm in 1995, the The Mercury Information claimed Monday, and the jury deadlocked on his innocence, voting 8-4 for acquittal.

A year afterwards, regardless of a choose barring the passionate-rival argument, the jury listening to Woodward’s second demo all over again hung alone, this time ruling 7-5. The decide shortly dismissed the situation for insufficient evidence.

But advancements in DNA know-how permitted detectives to hyperlink Woodward to the rope about Houts’ neck for the first time past yr, Rosen’s statement said. Investigators in both equally the Santa Clara County Criminal offense Lab and Mountain See Police Division matched both of those Woodward’s genetic product and fibers on his sweatpants to “the murder weapon,” law enforcement claimed.

Woodward was arrested right after federal brokers alerted neighborhood authorities to his imminent arrival from Amsterdam. Dutch authorities, the district attorney mentioned, had also received a warrant and had seized a variety of electronic devices from his house and small business.

ReadyTech, which is headquartered in Oakland and has an business in the Netherlands, did not instantly reply to an e mail sent by The Every day Beast to the company’s basic info deal with.

“I want Ms. Houts’ loved ones and buddies to know that we never gave up on her,” Rosen mentioned Monday. “Neither time nor distance will prevent us from acquiring out the real truth and in search of justice.”

Houts’ spouse and children also released a assertion just after Woodward’s arrest was declared, remembering their daughter’s coronary heart, humor, and spunk.

“The way Laurie lived and treated people was a spectacular case in point of what was proper in the world,” they claimed, in accordance to CBS News’ Bay Space affiliate. “She was a gem to so a lot of, but her dazzling existence was taken from us at the age of 25. We are hopeful that justice can at last be served for Laurie and extremely appreciative of the legislation enforcement agencies who have under no circumstances offered up on her.”

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