Silicon Valley CEO arrested over 1992 cold case murder

Detectives in Mountain View, California, have taken the CEO of a tech company into custody for a murder they believe he committed 30 years ago.

President and CEO of ReadyTech Corp. John Kevin Woodward is charged with killing Laurie Houts on September 5, 1992.

Woodward has already gone through two criminal trials, but he was not found guilty in either instance. Authorities were able to connect Woodward to the rope that was used to kill Houts because of advances in forensic science.

Houts, who was 25 years old at the time of her murder, was employed by Adobe Systems as a computer engineer. Houts was found dead in her car, which had visible indications of struggle inside. Prosecutors said that some of these indicators were footprints on the inside of the windshield and a rope around her neck.

A statement from Houts’ family read, “Although she was only five feet tall, she had a huge heart and her humor and spunk were endearing to all.”

“The way Laurie lived and treated people was a stunning example of what was right in the world. She was a gem to so many, but her bright life was taken from us at the age of 25,” the family’s statement added.

The district attorney claims that Woodward was the top suspect for the detectives right away. But there was never a conviction. A hung jury was the outcome in both trials.

The second case’s presiding judge dismissed it because there wasn’t enough supporting evidence. His fingerprints were outside Houts’ car, but not inside, according to investigators. After that, Woodward relocated to the Netherlands.

Prosecutors have framed Woodward’s motive as jealousy. They say he was romantically interested in Hout’s boyfriend, who was Woodward’s roommate.

Tuesday saw the announcement of Woodward’s arrest by the Santa Clara County district attorney. He was detained by authorities at New York’s JFK airport, and they intend to extradite him to California. If found guilty, a life sentence may be imposed.

 

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