2007_02_cortezp.jpgPaul Cortez took the stand in his murder trial yesterday. Accused of viciously slashing his ex-girlfriend, dancer Catherine Woods (whose sideline as a stripper made Cortez unhappy) to death, Cortez and his defense tried to create enough reasonable doubt for jurors to believe his innocence.

When asked about a bloody thumbprint on Woods' apartment wall the police say matches Cortez's own, Cortez tried to explain how it could have happened. From the NY Times:

Mr. Cortez said that during what he called an on-again off-again relationship, he and Ms. Woods had sex in her Upper East Side apartment about 10 times in the four months before she was killed, on Nov. 27, 2005.

Ms. Miranda asked whether Ms. Woods ever had a period during that time.

“Yes,” Mr. Cortez said.

Did they make “messes” when they were making love, she asked.

“Umm, yeah,” Mr. Cortez replied.

“Would you get your hands dirty at any time?” the lawyer continued.

“Yes,” Mr. Cortez said.

“Did you ever get your hands on the wall when you were intimate with her?” Ms. Miranda asked.

“I might have, yes,” Mr. Cortez said. Mr. Cortez adamantly denied that he had killed Ms. Woods.

Woods' parents were in the courtroom.

His defense also asked him to sing lyrics to "The Killin' Machine," a song that talks about a killin' machine that will "rip you apart with a scream," but the judge only allowed him to recite the lyrics. Cortez says the title is about really about a sex toy/machine. He also tried to emphasize he told Woods' father that his daughter was working as a stripper because he was worried about her. Cortez said, "She was very young, she's not from New York, she's doing this thing. I was always concerned about her safety."

Cortez tried to direct suspicion on Woods' ex-boyfriend David Haughn, who still lived with Woods though they weren't dating anymore and was the person who found Woods' body. Cortez said that Haughn was jealous of him and that he received angry calls from Haughn. Haughn wears the same size shoe as Cortez; a size 10.5 Skecher bootprint was found in the blood, but Cortez says he was wearing another brand of shoes.