Published On: Wed, Jan 22nd, 2014

New York court upholds conviction of Paul Cortez who murdered his stripper ex-girlfriend Catherine Woods

The state’s highest court on Tuesday upheld the murder conviction of Paul Cortez in the 2005 killing of his stripper ex-girlfriend Catherine Woods.

The Court of Appeals ruled the evidence against Cortez was strong enough to outweigh any mistakes made by his lawyer or the trial judge.

We agree with the Appellate Division that the proof before the jury overwhelmingly pointed to the conclusion that defendant was Ms. Woods’ assailant,” Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman wrote in the court’s majority opinion.

Cortez was convicted of murdering Woods, age 21, by cutting her throat and stabbing her 20 times in her Upper East Side apartment.

He was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.

Prosecutors noted jealously as motive for the crime. Woods was a trained dancer, working as a stripper and then began sharing an apartment with another man.

Cortez said his conviction should be overturned on the grounds that his lawyers were incompetent and that the trial court improperly allowed some of his journal entries to be used as evidence against him.

Catherine Woods

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About the Author

- Roxanne "Butter" Bracco began with the Dispatch as Pittsburgh Correspondent, but will be providing reports and insights from Washington DC, Maryland and the surrounding region. Contact Roxie aka "Butter" at theglobaldispatch@gmail ATTN: Roxie or Butter Bracco

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