The CEO of a Silicon Valley technology firm has been arrested for allegedly killing his former roommate’s girlfriend 30 years ago, CNN reports.
On Saturday, police arrested 58-year-old John Woodward at Kennedy Airport in New York after he arrived on an international flight. Authorities allege that Woodward murdered 25-year-old Laurie Houts on September 5, 1992, because he had developed unreciprocated feelings for her boyfriend, who was also his roommate.
Woodward had been charged twice with Houts killing in the 1990s but the cases were dismissed for lack of evidence. Woodward later moved to the Netherlands.
Prosecutors allege that Woodward was openly jealous of Houts, a computer engineer, and had no alibi at the time of the killing.
Houts was found inside her vehicle with a rope around her neck in Mountain View, California. At the time, investigators pulled Woodward’s fingerprints from outside the vehicle, but police did not have evidence that he was in the car.
That changed after advances in technology allowed police to identify DNA on the rope and link it to Woodward, who up until his arrest was president and CEO of Readytech, which makes online training tools.
Woodward is charged with murder by strangulation and is being held in New York until he is extradited back to California. If convicted, he faces up to life in prison.
Santa Clara District Attorney Jeff Rosen said authorities were committed to finding justice for Houts and her family.
“I want Ms. Houts’ family and friends to know that we never gave up on her,” Rosen said in a written statement. “Neither time nor distance will stop us from finding out the truth and seeking justice.”
Houts’ sister said that while the arrest may help bring closure, the family is still faced with the reality of her absence.
“It doesn’t really matter what happens because Laurie is not coming back. We don’t get to win and get our sister back. We get to win and maybe get some justice or some closure,” Houts’ younger sister Cindy told KTVU-TV.
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[Featured image: Laurie Houts/Mountain View Police Department]