After a span of 30 years since allegedly strangling a young female computer engineer, one tech CEO out of Silicon Valley was officially taken into custody as he made his want back to America due to new DNA evidence that officially confirmed his ties to the crime.
John Kevin Woodward, the 58-year-old CEO of Readytech, ran off to Amsterdam in the Netherlands in the wake of being tried twice for the murder of then 25-year-old Laurie Houts back in 1992. The trials bother ended with hung juries due to the forensic technicians of the time not being able to analyze some of the DNA discovered at the scene of the murder, which included the rope wrapped around the neck of the victim. The CEO’s fingerprints were discovered on the outside of the car, but no definitive proof could be made that he was ever in the car.
“The motive as we understand it is a love triangle,” explained David Fisher, a Sergeant with Mountain View police.
Woodward, who was taken into custody when he landed at JFK International Airport out in New York, will be officially extradited to Mountain View, California in order to stand trial.
As stated by local law enforcement, Woodward had “an unrequited romantic attachment” to his roommate, who had been Houts’ boyfriend at the time.
The alleged incident took place on the 5th of September, 1992. After the discovery of Houts’ body by a passerby in a car next to a garbage dump, it was quite clear to police officials that Houts had fought hard against her assailant before her demise, as her footprints were discovered on the inside of the windshield.
After highlighting that her purse still sat perfectly intact and undisturbed next to the car, police forces stated that the attack had not been due to a robbery, which ended with police suspecting Woodward of the murder. “He was openly jealous of Ms. Houts, having developed an unrequited romantic attachment to his roommate, her boyfriend. He had no alibi,” explained the police.
The police had Houts’ boyfriend wear a wire in order to allow them to listen in on his conversation with Woodward about the crime. Woodward reportedly asked the man what evidence the police possessed,
In the second trial, the judge stated that new evidence would need to be discovered for Woodward to be tried once again.
However, back in 2020, the crime lab of Santa Clara County made use of new DNA tech and found out that mixed in with the 80 fingerprints found over the course of the murder investigation, more fingerprints match Woodward.
“This case is the culmination of incredible determination by our detectives over the decades and with phenomenal teamwork with our agency partners here in Santa Clara County and in New York,” explained Mountain View police Chief Chris Hsiung. “I am honored that our agency finally gets to give hope to Laurie’s family that they can see a successful prosecution carried out. It bears repeating – we do not give up on justice for victims, no matter what.”
“Although she was only 5′ tall, she had a huge heart and her humor and spunk were endearing to all,” asserted Houts’ family. “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. We are hopeful that justice can finally be served for Laurie and incredibly appreciative of the law enforcement agencies who have never given up on her.”
“It doesn’t really matter what happens because Laurie is not coming back,” expressed the victim’s sister, Cindy. “We don’t get to win and get our sister back. We get to win and maybe get some justice or some closure.”