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In 1992, Laurie Houts was discovered strangled in her automotive. Her boyfriend’s roommate — now a tech CEO — was simply arrested for her homicide.


A California tech firm govt has been charged within the 1992 homicide of his former roommate’s girlfriend, prosecutors mentioned Monday.  

John Kevin Woodward, the president and CEO of Readytech, was charged with the homicide of Laurie Houts, a 25-year-old laptop engineer who was discovered strangled in her automotive in Mountain View, the Santa Clara County Workplace of the District Lawyer mentioned in a information launch.

Woodward, now 58, was arrested Saturday at John F. Kennedy Worldwide Airport in New York after arriving from Amsterdam.

Mountain View homicide victim Laurie Houts
1992 Mountain View murder sufferer Laurie Houts.

Mountain View Police Division


Officers mentioned Houts was found lifeless in her car close to a rubbish dump a few mile from her work. The rope used to kill her was nonetheless round her neck and her footprints had been seen on the inside of the automotive’s windshield, an indication of her battle with the suspect. Her pocketbook was discovered close by, undisturbed.  

Woodward — who was roommates with Houts’ boyfriend — was arrested later that very same 12 months in reference to the murder. The Santa Clara County District Lawyer’s Workplace mentioned Woodward was brazenly jealous of Houts, and had developed an unrequited romantic attachment to his roommate and had no alibi for the night time Houts was killed. 

When the boyfriend requested Woodward if he killed her as police listened in, Woodward requested what the investigators knew. Though Woodward’s fingerprints had been situated on the surface of Houts’ automotive, investigators in 1992 had been by no means capable of present he was contained in the car.

He was tried twice for the crime, CBS San Francisco reported. The primary trial resulted in a hung jury and a second trial roughly a 12 months later additionally resulted in a hung jury. Within the second trial, the trial decide famous that new proof would must be introduced ahead to re-try Woodward once more. 

Woodward relocated after the second trial to the Netherlands, the place he presently resides. Due to updates in DNA expertise, police had been capable of join Woodward to the rope used within the crime with extra proof. 

Starting in late 2020, detectives began to re-examine the Houts case, re-submitting gadgets from the investigation to the Santa Clara County Crime Lab for renewed evaluation. Police mentioned DNA samples collected from proof on the scene got here again matching Woodward’s DNA. Moreover, over 80 latent fingerprints that had been additionally collected on the time of Laurie’s demise had been re-examined by the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Identification Unit, which resulted in much more fingerprints matching Woodward.

The brand new info, together with proof that led to Woodward being charged and tried as the first suspect through the authentic investigation, led the Santa Clara County District Lawyer’s Workplace to problem a brand new warrant for Woodward’s arrest for homicide.

“This case is the fruits of unimaginable dedication by our detectives over the many years and with phenomenal teamwork with our company companions right here in Santa Clara County and in New York,” mentioned Mountain View Police Chief Chris Hsiung in an announcement. “I’m honored that our company lastly will get to offer hope to Laurie’s household that they will see a profitable prosecution carried out. It bears repeating – we don’t surrender on justice for victims, it doesn’t matter what.”

Woodward is being held in New York with out bail till he will be extradited again to California. He faces life in jail, if convicted.

District Lawyer Jeff Rosen praised the cooperation and help from the U.S. Division of Justice and the Dutch Ministry of Justice and Safety. Dutch authorities coordinated with the DOJ, acquiring a warrant for the search of Woodward’s dwelling and enterprise within the Netherlands in lower than 24 hours, seizing a number of computer systems and USB drives, he mentioned.   

CBS San Francisco experiences that the Houts household launched the next assertion concerning the arrest:

“Laurie Anne Houts was a beloved member of the family and buddy to many.  Though she was solely 5′ tall, she had an enormous coronary heart and her humor and spunk had been endearing to all. The best way Laurie lived and handled individuals was a shocking instance of what was proper on this planet.  She was a gem to so many, however her brilliant life was taken from us on the age of 25. We’re hopeful that justice can lastly be served for Laurie and extremely appreciative of the regulation enforcement businesses who’ve by no means given up on her.”



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