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Tech firm CEO John Kevin Woodward, 58, is arrested at JFK 30 years after strangling 25-year-old female computer engineer because he had ‘unrequited romantic attachment to his roommate – her boyfriend’

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Tech firm CEO arriving from Amsterdam arrested at JFK on Saturday for the decades old murder of a tech employee in California

Readytech President and CEO John Kevin Woodward, 58, was arrested for the murder of Laurie Houts 30 years ago

Houts a 25-year-old computer engineer employed by Adobe, in Sept. 1992, was found strangled to death in her car

Woodward police said, was jealous of Houts because she was dating his roommate, a man with whom he was obsessed

The tech boss was tried twice for the crime, but both times the case was dismissed “for insufficient evidence”

Santa Clara County investigators lacked the sophistication to tie him to the crime

Detectives re-examined the case in 2020 and new technology was able to link Woodward to the rope used to kill Houts

He was arrested at JFK airport after flying in to the U.S. from the Netherlands were he lives now

Woodward could face life in prison if he is convicted of the murder this time

Tech firm CEO John Kevin Woodward, [left] was arrested at JFK airport for the 1992 strangling of then 25-year-old Laurie Houts [right] an employee of Adobe at the time she was murdered

A tech firm CEO suspected of strangling a computer engineer in a fit of jealousy 30 years ago has been arrested, not for the first time, after new enhanced DNA techniques produced evidence linking him to the murder.
John Kevin Woodward, 58, the president and chief executive of ReadyTech, an online training company, was taken into custody on Saturday at Kennedy International Airport in New York after arriving from his adopted home city of Amsterdam, the Santa Clara County DA’s office said in a statement this week.
He was charged with strangling Laurie Houts, his roommate’s girlfriend. The prosecutor’s office said DNA on a rope led them to Woodward.
He will be extradited to Mountain View, California where he will go on trial for a third time for the death of Laurie Houts, a 25-year-old employee of Adobe System.
Woodward, who was obsessed with the man that Houts was dating, attacked her in her car on September 5, 1992.
He strangled her with a piece of rope, according to police: ‘The motive as we understand it is a love triangle,’ Mountain View Sergeant David Fisher said. 

Laurie Houts was dating at man who her murderer was obsessed with and police say she was killed due to his jealousy
Laurie Houts, [photo], was found with the rope still around her neck near a garbage dump in Sept 1992. Her purse was untouched

A passerby discovered the car and Houts near a garbage dump about a mile from her job, the rope still wrapped around her neck, police said.
Signs of a struggle were apparent, her footprints could be seen on the inside of the windshield.
Cops ruled out robbery as a motive because her purse lay untouched beside her. 
Detectives quickly turned to Woodward as the main suspect.
‘He was openly jealous of Ms. Houts, having developed an unrequited romantic attachment to his roommate, her boyfriend. He had no alibi,’ police said.

Mountain View Police Sgt. David Fisher said that jealousy was the motive for Laurie Hout’s murder in 1992

After her murder, cops had the boyfriend wear a wire and listen as the man confronted Woodward about the crime.
The suspect seem to suspect that he was being watched and asked the man what investigators had on him.
Using the evidence they had at the time, the Santa Clara District Attorney took Woodward to trial twice in the 1990s. But, both times the attempt at prosecution were dismissed “for insufficient evidence,” the DA’s office says.

Houts’ older sister, Suzi, [right], and her best friend Marilyn, [left], said that Houts was very athlete, despite being only 5-foot tall

The judge in the case told the DA that he would have to produce new evidence if he wanted to bring the case again.
After the trial, Woodward moved to the Netherlands, but he continued to run Readytech, an online training company.
In 2020 detectives began a reexamination of the case. 
Although Woodward’s fingerprints had been found on the outside of the car, forensic technicians lacked the sophistication to analyze the DNA on the rope until last year.
Santa Clara County Crime Lab used new DNA technology to exam samples collected from the crime scene.
Over 80 latent fingerprints that were also collected at the time of Laurie’s death were re-examined by the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Identification Unit, which resulted in even more fingerprints matching Woodward. 
‘This case is the culmination of incredible determination by our detectives over the decades and with phenomenal teamwork with our agency partners here in Santa Clara County and in New York,’ Mountain View police Chief Chris Hsiung.
‘I am honored that our agency finally gets to give hope to Laurie’s family that they can see a successful prosecution carried out. It bears repeating – we do not give up on justice for victims, no matter what.’

Santa Clara Deputy District Attorney Robert Baker said that authorities were determined to get justice for Laurie Houts

Houts was described by her family as ‘vibrant’ and ahead of her time as a woman working in the tech field.
‘Although she was only 5′ tall, she had a huge heart and her humor and spunk were endearing to all,’ her family said in a statement.
‘The way Laurie lived and treated people was a stunning example of what was right in the world.
‘She was a gem to so many, but her bright life was taken from us at the age of 25. We are hopeful that justice can finally be served for Laurie and incredibly appreciative of the law enforcement agencies who have never given up on her.’ 
Her best friend, Marilyn, told Fox 5 News that she was a fierce athlete despite her size.
‘I was very proud of her and she was stood on her own. Whether it was in the classroom, or us playing co-ed softball, co-ed basketball in college,’ the friend told the station.
After his arrest, it took Dutch authorities less than 24 hours to secure a search warrant for Woodward’s home. Police seized several computers and USB thumb drives from the residence.
It’s unclear when Woodward will be extradited or when his trial will begin. 
If convicted, the tech boss could be sentenced to life in prison.
‘It doesn’t really matter what happens because Laurie is not coming back,’ her sister Cindy told KTUV News. ‘We don’t get to win and get our sister back. We get to win and maybe get some justice or some closure.’ 
His employer ReadyTech called Woodward’s arrest a “jolt to all of us,” in a July 12 statement.
“We have the utmost empathy for the families involved,” it said. “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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