Bay Area CEO charged with murder of Mountain View woman 30 years ago | New

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Thirty years after a woman was strangled to death in Mountain View, a Bay Area tech CEO has now been charged with her murder.

John Kevin Woodward, 58, president and CEO of Readytech, was arrested last Saturday at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York after arriving from Amsterdam and charged with the murder by strangulation of the girlfriend of his roommate in Mountain View in 1992, according to the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office. Woodward will be arraigned upon his return to Santa Clara County with Mountain View detectives, and faces life in prison if convicted.

Woodward was twice unsuccessfully tried in the late 1990s for the murder of Laurie Houts, a 25-year-old computer engineer, according to the prosecutor’s office.

“The case was dismissed by a judge for insufficient evidence after a jury was unable to reach a verdict at the second trial,” a statement read. “Woodward moved to the Netherlands after the case was dismissed. He is currently being held without bail in New York pending extradition to California.”

Houts was found dead in her car on September 5, 1992, at 1300 clock on Crittenden Lane in Mountain View after being strangled with a rope. Woodward quickly became the prime suspect in the murder, as he was “openly jealous of Mrs. Houts, having developed an unrequited romantic attachment to her roommate, her boyfriend”, and he had no alibi.

“When the boyfriend asked Woodward if he had killed her, as police listened, he asked what the investigators knew,” the statement read. “Although Woodward’s fingerprints were located outside of Houts’ car, investigators in 1992 were never able to show that he was inside the vehicle.”

But last year, thanks to new developments in forensic technology, the Santa Clara County Crime Lab and the Mountain View Police Department were able to connect Woodward to the rope found around Houts’ neck.

According to a statement from the Mountain View Police Department, detectives began re-examining Houts’ case in late 2020. Investigative material was resubmitted to the Santa Clara County Crime Lab for analysis and DNA samples collected from evidence at the scene came back matching Woodward. DNA.

“This new information, coupled with evidence indicating that Woodward was the prime suspect gathered during the initial investigation, has led the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office to issue a warrant for the arrest of Woodward for murder,” the report said. communicated.

Houts’ family said in a statement that they hope justice “can finally be served for Laurie” and expressed their gratitude for the work of law enforcement on the case.

“Laurie Anne Houts was a beloved family member and friend to many,” the family said in the statement. “Although she was only 5ft tall, she had a huge heart and her humor and courage were endearing to all. The way Laurie lived and treated people was an amazing example of what was right in the world.”

To keep her memory alive, her family established the Laurie Houts Memorial Girls Athletics Scholarship, which supports senior female graduates who have been involved in the sport for all four years and plan to earn a degree in a STEM discipline.

Rosen thanked the United States Department of Justice and the Dutch Department of Justice and Security for their swift action: “In less than 24 hours, Dutch authorities, in coordination with the DOJ, obtained a warrant for the search of the Woodward’s home and business in the Netherlands and seized several computers and USB drives,” according to the prosecutor’s office.

“I want Ms. Houts’ family and friends to know that we never gave up on her,” District Attorney Jeff Rosen said in the statement. “Neither time nor distance will stop us from uncovering the truth and seeking justice.”

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