Tech CEO Accused of Killing Roommate’s GF 30 Years Ago



John Kevin Woodward, CEO of online training company ReadyTech, is going to face a third trial in the 1992 murder of his roommate’s girlfriend. Woodward, 58, relocated to the Netherlands after two trials in the 1990s ended in hung juries. Prosecutors say he was arrested Saturday after he arrived at New York’s JFK Airport on a flight from Amsterdam, CNN reports. Woodward is accused of killing 25-year-old Lauren Houts, an Adobe Systems software engineer who was found dead in her vehicle with a rope around her neck. She was found around two miles away from her workplace in Mountain View, California and investigators said there were clear signs of a struggle in the car.

In Woodward’s 1995 trial, defense lawyers argued that there wasn’t enough evidence connecting him to the killing. Prosecutors said Woodward, who is gay, had developed feelings for his roommate and was jealous of the man’s relationship with Houts, the Mercury News reports. A judge did not allow that motive to be introduced during Woodward’s second trial in 1996. Police and prosecutors say Woodward was arrested on the basis of newly analyzed DNA evidence linking him to the rope found around Houts’ neck. The analysis excluded her boyfriend as a suspect.

Police said the lab also determined that “fibers from sweatpants inside Woodward’s car were virtually indistinguishable from fibers found on the murder weapon,” reports the Mercury News. Police said that in a monitored call with Houts’ boyfriend after he became a suspect, Woodward “did not deny” killing her and asked what evidence authorities had. Woodward is being held in New York and will be sent to California before the end of the month. “The DA’s office is thrilled that we have an opportunity, after 30 years, to seek justice for Laurie, her family, and friends,” said prosecutor Rob Baker at the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office. (Read more murder stories.)

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