John Kevin Woodward: Tech Company CEO Arrested and Charged on Murder

A computer engineer and three-sport high school athlete, John Kevin Woodward were tried a couple of times in the 1990s for the slaying of his roommate’s fiancée, who was found murdered in her car while driving in Mountain View, California.

Prosecutors said the case was dismissed by a court because of a lack of evidence after the first test is finished in a deadlock.

Laurie Houts was murdered in 1992, and prosecutors have now charged Mr. Woodward with her murder over 25 years later, citing the use of forensic technology that tied him to a rope as the murder weapon.

The Santa Clara County Office of the County Prosecutor said in a statement this week that Mr. Woodward, 58, was arrested on Sunday at Kennedy International Airport in New York after coming from Amsterdam as founder and chief executive of ReadyTech, an online training company.

After extradition from New York, he was to be tried in Santa Clara County, where he was charged with the “strangulation murder” of Ms. Houts, according to the statement. If convicted, he risks a sentence of up to and including death.

Upon hearing that Mr. Wood had been re-arrested, Cindy Houts’ younger sister’s immediate reaction was, “Yes!” When she realized that a sentence would not bring her sister back, she was devastated. During a joint interview, she and Ms. Houts’s older sister, Suzi, asked to remain anonymous for the sake of their privacy and dignity.
Cindy lamented the fact that she hadn’t seen her in 30 years and how much she was missed. Because we have already gone through two trials, we know how difficult the trial will be.” And we’re hoping for the best with this one, too.”

Tod Greenberg, a lawyer in New York who is representing Woodward, claimed that Woodward had consented during a session on Monday in Manhattan Criminal Court to come to Santa Clara County and was “anxious [to] get into the High court to confront these allegations, which he [adamantly denies]”

That Woodward had been arrested was a “jolt” to everyone at the company he founded, which has its corporate quarters in Oakland and an office in Amsterdam.

Our hearts go out to the affected families, and we are deeply sorry for their loss.”

Ms. Houts was found dead in her automobile on September 5, 1992, a mile from the Adobe Systems headquarters where she worked. Her neck was still wrapped in the rope that had been used to murder her. DA’s statement stated that her footprints were found on the glass interior “as evidence of her battle with Woodward.”

According to the statement, Mr. Woodward was quickly viewed as a suspect. His housemate, who was dating Ms. Houts’ boyfriend, was the subject of his “unrequited romantic connection,” according to the prosecution.

While Mr. Woodward was being interviewed by the police, he refused to answer the boyfriend’s inquiry about whether or not he had killed Ms. Houts, authorities said. Instead, Mr. Woodward “asked what the detectives knew.”

There were two trials for the murder of Mr. Woodward in 1992, according to law enforcement sources.

The first trial ended in a hung jury in 1995, according to the Mountain View police. According to prosecutors, the case was dropped by a judge the next year when a second jury failed to return a verdict.

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Mr. Woodward’s second trial was adjourned because of a lack of evidence, according to the San Jose Mercury News.

Investigators in 1992 were unable to prove that Mr. Woodward had been inside Ms. Houts’s automobile despite finding his fingerprints on the vehicle’s exterior, authorities said.

Mr. Woodward relocated to the Netherlands after the second trial.

Forensic evidence from the investigation was sent back to the Santa Clara County Crime Lab in 2020, police said.

The cops said they employed new technology to analyze a DNA sample taken from the rope. According to District Attorney Jeff Rosen, the tests revealed that Mr. Woodward’s skin cells were found to be attached to the rope.

According to the police, new technology was used by investigators to conclude that sweatpants fibers found in Mr. Woodward’s car were “nearly indistinguishable” from rope fibers.

In an interview, Mr. Rosen stated that the evidence “placed the noose in his hands”.

It was discovered that more fingerprints matching Mr. Woodward were found during the re-examination of more than 80 previously collected latent fingerprints.

According to Mr. Rosen, “Murder is tremendously serious and even life for the individuals surrounding the victim.” “We didn’t forget, and neither did the Mountain View police.”

John Kevin Woodward

When Mr. Woodward was arrested in the United States, Dutch officials acquired a warrant and searched his residence in the Netherlands, he said. They seized laptops as well as USB drives.

Suzi Houts, the elder sister of Ms. Houts, described her as a “happy, extremely humorous, loving person who treated everybody like family” and who had played basketball, volleyball, and softball in high school at Gunderson High School in San Jose.

Every year on the eve of Laurie Houts’ birthday, the sisters stated they would make free throws in her honor.

In an interview, Suzi said, “We are glad to have a chance at some form of justice.” It has been 30 years since “we’ve waited patiently.”

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