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Hearing Denied for Yoga Teacher Convicted in Dancer's 2005 Killing

From New York Times - December 10, 2017

In court papers, Ms. Angeli argues that the videotape shows another of Ms. Woodss boyfriends, David Haughn, leaving her apartment building on the Upper East Side several minutes after a neighbor heard her scream during a violent struggle.

Prosecutors, however, say the time stamp on the videotape is inaccurate and argue the other evidence against Mr. Cortez was overwhelming. It included a fingerprint prosecutors said was left when the killers bloody hand touched a wall.

In addition, cellphone records placed Mr. Cortez near the apartment building at the time of the killing, and boot prints on Ms. Woodss bedspread matched the shoes one of Mr. Cortezs friends remembered he had worn that day. (The boots were never found.) Prosecutors also used telephone records to prove he had called Ms. Woods repeatedly up until the time she was killed, and then suddenly stopped calling.

Still, no one witnessed the murder, and from the start, defense lawyers argued the real culprit might be Mr. Haughn, who had dated Ms. Woods on and off since high school and was Mr. Cortezs rival for her affection in a stormy love triangle.

Though they had recently broken up, Mr. Haughn was staying with Ms. Woods and working at a nearby building as a doorman. He testified he left the apartment on the evening of Nov. 27, 2005, to get his car to drive her to work. She never came downstairs. He went inside, found her body and called 911.

Though Mr. Haughn was initially a suspect, the police soon decided Mr. Cortez was the killer. His fingerprint was lifted from what appeared to be a bloody handprint on a Sheetrock wall, a police forensic scientist testified.

Mr. Cortezs lawyers, however, have found four forensic experts who say in sworn affidavits the evidence strongly suggests the fingerprint was on the wall before the blood was splattered over it.

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