See latest update:
The Catherine Woods Case: Was Paul Cortez imprisoned for a murder he did not commit? - Sept. 6, 2008
----update: March 23, 2007
Paul Cortez gets 25-to-life in slaying of Catherine Woods.
AP/Guardian: Maximum Sentence Imposed in Killing of Dancer - Personal trainer Paul Cortez was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison on Friday for the brutal murder of Catherine Woods, a dancer and aspiring actress from Ohio.
“He is a murderer, deserving nothing less than life in prison,” said the victim’s father, Jon Woods, director of the Ohio State University marching band, before State Supreme Court Justice Carol Berkman pronounced the maximum sentence.
A jury had found that Cortez, 26, slashed the throat of Woods, 21, his ex-girlfriend, in her apartment on Nov. 27, 2005.
Woods, a classically trained dancer, had moved to Manhattan from Columbus, Ohio, hoping to make it on Broadway. Instead, she wound up working in topless bars to cover her living expenses...
----update: Feb. 15, 2007
A Manhattan jury found Paul Cortez guilty of killing Catherine Woods 445 days after he nearly beheaded her on Nov. 27, 2005.
WNBC: Personal Trainer Found Guilty Of Killing Dancer — Paul Cortez, 26, was found guilty for slashing the throat of his ex-girlfriend, 21-year-old Catherine Woods, on Nov. 27, 2005, in her Manhattan apartment. The jurors deliberated over three days following a two-week trial in state Supreme Court. He faces 25 years to life in prison at his March 23 sentencing on the second-degree murder conviction. His mother wept openly in the courtroom as the verdict was read, but Cortez showed no emotion.
Defense attorney Dawn Florio promised an appeal, and predicted that her client would prevail -- most likely by claiming prosecutors had no right to introduce Cortez's diaries, which detailed his tortured feelings over Woods' refusal to love him...
NY Times: Yoga Teacher Convicted in Killing of Dancer — The jurors also reviewed testimony from a detective about Mr. Haughn’s demeanor when he was questioned the day after the murder. He was, the detective said, “distraught, shaken, unnerved, sad,” but he never cried. The detective also was impressed that Mr. Haughn never asked for a lawyer or invoked his right to remain silent under police questioning.
The jury also asked to review testimony that would compare what the prosecutor, Peter Casolaro, said during closing arguments about a bloody fingerprint matched to Mr. Cortez to what experts testified about that fingerprint...
----update: May 6, 2006
The Woods-Cortez case was covered in depth on a May 6, 2006, broadcast of CBS's 48 Hours Mystery - The Last Dance:
A Killer Shatters A Young Dancer's Dreams Of BroadwayThe NY Post today described an interesting aspect of Paul Cortez's personality that was revealed during the 48 Hours show - 2 FACES OF STRIP 'KILLER':
In July 2002, 18-year-old Catherine Woods left her home in Columbus, Ohio, to find fame in the footlights of Broadway. But three and a half years later, Catherine tragically made her name in New York as a murder victim.
The father of slain stripper Catherine Woods said the psycho personal trainer charged in her killing seemed "caring" when he called months before the Upper East Side murder to warn her family she was working as an exotic dancer.
"He accused her of being in prostitution. He accused her of using drugs," the victim's father John Woods told the CBS show "48 Hours Mystery" in an episode set to air tonight.
"When he told me that, I thought as a father: 'Wow, thank you for calling. I'm going to deal with this,' " John Woods said. "He sounded like an intelligent person, rational, helpful, caring."
The New York media all had stories this month [Jan. 2006] providing details and motives for the Paul Cortez murder of Catherine Woods.
The NY Post had a story about the woman who was a victim of Paul Cortez on January 1st, 2005:
A Manhattan woman feels "terrific guilt" for not reporting her rape believing she could have prevented her terrorizer from later murdering his estranged stripper girlfriend, sources told The Post.The Gothmist reported:
"Had I come forward, that girl [Catherine Woods] might be alive," the distraught woman has told cops about her attacker, yoga instructor Paul Cortez.
A law-enforcement source said the woman deeply regrets waiting until after the 21-year-old Woods was stabbed to death last Nov. 27 to inform cops that she had been forcibly sodomized by Cortez.
The ex-boyfriend and suspected killer of Catherine Woods - the fresh-faced aspiring dancer from Ohio who turned to stripping to make ends meet - kept a diary where he fantasized about cutting her throat. Yoga instructor Paul Cortez, whom the police suspected shortly after Woods's murder, apparently mixed teachings from the Bhagavad Gita and his dream of trying to save Woods from a sinful life.WBNS-TV, Columbus reported:
...[According to another source, Cortez is] "so nuts, it's three weeks after the murder and he's still got a diary in his apartment, talking about the murder beforehand, and then talking about how bad he feels afterward Â— using her name."
The former boyfriend charged with killing an Ohio woman in New York tells police he tried to stop her from working as a topless dancer.Yoga instructor Paul Cortez to be charged with murder of Catherine Woods [TJN, Dec. 22, 2005]
Twenty-four-year-old Paul Cortez also says he called Catherine Woods' father in Ohio to tell him how she was earning her living.
Cortez has pleaded innocent to a second-degree murder charge in the death of the 21-year-old Woods. He says in a statement he gave to police that he told Woods that taking her clothes off in bars was a bad idea.