CA Tech CEO Arrested in Cold Case Murder 30 Years Later

John Kevin Woodward, the CEO of ReadyTech, was arrested and charged with murder in the 1992 killing of Laurie Houts

John Kevin Woodward, 58, the CEO of online training company ReadyTech, was arrested Saturday upon his arrival at JFK airport in New York following a trip to Amsterdam for the savage murder of 25-year-old Laurie Houts in 1992.

Woodward was charged with Houts’ murder after the Santa Clara County crime lab and Mountain View Police Department used new forensic technology to solve the case, according to a news release from the Santa Clara District Attorney’s Office on Monday.

Houts’ body was found in her car with a rope around her neck in September 1992, roughly a mile from her workplace in Mountain View, California. Her fingerprints were found on the inside of the windshield, indicating that a struggle had taken place in the vehicle.

Woodward was tried twice for the murder in the 1990s, but both prosecutions were ultimately dismissed for a lack of sufficient evidence. Following the trials, Woodward moved to the Netherlands.

“The biggest hurdle… was being able to find new evidence,” Mountain View police Sgt. David Fisher told CNN. “Since then, these advancements have really given the district attorney the ability to file charges here.”

Officials say DNA evidence on the rope led them to Woodward, who is now being held without bail in New York as he awaits extradition to be arraigned in California. The Santa Clara County D.A.’s office said that if convicted, Woodward will face life in prison.

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

ReadyTech released a statement on Tuesday, saying Woodward’s homicide arrest came as a “jolt” to everyone at the company.

“We have the utmost empathy for the families involved,” the statement read. “ReadyTech will draw upon the strength of our long-time leadership team to support our employees, our customers and our business during this time.”

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