A TECH CEO has been charged with the murder of a 25-year-old woman who was found dead in her car with a rope around her neck more than 20 years ago, according to a press release from the Santa Clara County Office of the District Attorney.
ReadyTech CEO John Kevin Woodward was arrested Saturday at JFK airport after new evidence was uncovered into the murder of a roommate’s girlfriend Laurie Houts.
The Santa Clara County Crime Lab, along with investigators from the Mountain View Police Department, found Woodward’s DNA on the rope used to strangle Houts press release from the announced.
Their use of “new advances in forensic science technology” in 2021 allowed them to collect the first piece of evidence that put the tech CEO in the vehicle on the night of the 1992 murder.
Houts, a 25-year-old computer engineer, was found strangled by a pedestrian in her car on September 5, 1992 on Crittenden Lane in Mountain View, California. The killer left the rope around her neck.
The initial investigation, according to prosecutors, “quickly determined that Woodward was a prime suspect.”
Investigators said they found he was “openly jealous of Ms. Houts” and had allegedly “developed an unrequited romantic bond with his roommate, her boyfriend.”
The press release also states that Woodward had no alibi for the time of the murder.
Suspect Woodward was “attempted twice unsuccessfully” in the 1990s.
“The case was dismissed by a judge for insufficient evidence after a jury failed to reach a verdict after the second trial,” the prosecutor’s office said in a statement.
After the case was dropped, Woodward moved to Amsterdam, where he worked and lived until his arrest on Saturday.
While Woodward’s fingerprints were found outside the vehicle, there was no previous evidence placing him inside the car.
The footprints on the car’s windshield showed Houts’ struggle during the attack.
Woodward, 58, a Bay Area native and the CEO and president of an online training company called ReadyTech, was arrested on his way back from Amsterdam.
Dutch authorities and the Ministry of Justice obtained a search warrant for Woodward’s business and residence in the Netherlands.
Several USB drives and computers were confiscated from Woodward’s possession.
If convicted, Woodward faces life imprisonment. He is currently being held without bail in New York while awaiting extradition in California.
Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen said of the case, “I want Ms. Hout’s family and friends to know that we never gave up on her…”
“…Neither time nor distance will prevent us from finding out the truth and seeking justice.”
https://www.the-sun.com/news/5766484/readytech-ceo-john-kevin-woodward-murder/ Inside tips linking ReadyTech CEO John Kevin Woodward to the death of a woman found in her car with a rope around her neck