Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Narcissist couldn't handle rejection so he killed her...

Man sentenced in Ohio dancer's slaying
Saturday, March 24, 2007

NEW YORK A man was sentenced Friday to 25 years to life in prison for killing a classically schooled dancer who left Ohio to try to become a Broadway performer but wound up working in topless bars.

Paul Cortez, 26, bowed his head when he heard the sentence and avoided looking at his relatives and friends as he was led away in handcuffs.

A jury convicted Cortez, a personal trainer and would-be rock star, in February of second-degree murder in the death of 21-year-old Catherine Woods, his former girlfriend, finding that he slashed her throat in her Upper East Side Manhattan apartment on Nov. 27, 2005. Prosecutors said she had more than 20 knife wounds on her body.

"He is a murderer, deserving nothing less than life in prison," said Jon Woods, Catherine Woods' father.

Jon Woods, director of the Ohio State University marching band and former Plain Township resident, made his statement before State Supreme Court Justice Carol Berkman pronounced the sentence.

Catherine Woods had moved to Manhattan from Columbus, hoping to make it on Broadway. Instead, she wound up working in topless bars to cover her living expenses. Berkman said the primary evidence was Cortez's fingerprint in Woods' blood on a wall of the bedroom where she was slain.

"The evidence establishes that he is the author of his own tragedy," she said.

Cortez, his shoulder-length hair shorn into a military-style buzz cut, declined to speak, but his lawyer, Dawn Florio, said, "He would like the family to know he did not kill Catherine Woods and he is very sorry for their loss."

During the trial, Florio and Laura Miranda, Cortez's other lawyer, suggested that the killer was David Haughn, Woods' former boyfriend from Columbus, Ohio, who was living with her when she was slain.

The defense claimed Haughn, 25, was enraged by jealousy because Woods was seeing Cortez and other men. But during the trial, defense lawyers never offered proof that Woods was intimate with anyone other than Cortez and Haughn.

Assistant District Attorney Peter Casolaro said that, at the time of Woods' death, Haughn had gone to get his car to drive Woods to her job at a strip club. Cortez saw him leave, then went in and killed the young woman, Casolaro said.

Casolaro said Cortez killed Woods because she was dumping him, and "because this violent, narcissistic misogynist couldn't handle rejection."

"I'm glad it's over," Haughn said as he left court.

Cortez's mother and other relatives avoided reporters.