The first day of Paul Cortez's murder trial was filled with tears from his alleged victim's father. Jon Woods testified and sobbed on the witness stand as he described his daughter Catherine's passion for dance and how three Columbus police officers arrived came to his home to tell him that his daughter was murdered.

Cortez, accused of slashing Woods's throat in November 2005, had been dating Catherine Woods, but was upset that she worked as a stripper to make money and called her father to expose her secret. Jon Woods said, "He told me she ... had been addicted to drugs, was involved in prostitution and was an alcoholic, which was shocking to us... I appreciated the call, and I thanked him. The next day, it was off to New York." When his daughter denied Cortez's story, Jon Woods explained, "I certainly wanted to check what he said, hoping it wasn't true...Alcohol, drugs and prostitution, she said she was not involved in those activities...She was in very good condition, except that she was very upset at Paul Cortez" He admitted to Cortez's lawyer that he only realized his daughter had been a stripper after her murder.

Prosecutors painted Cortez as an obsessed ex ("If he could not possess her, no one could.") while Cortez's defense that Woods had been involved with many men, was raped many times, and had worked in adult films. They also mentioned that Cortez and Woods loved each other, the hair found in Woods' hand at the crime scene resembled the blond hair of Woods' ex-boyfriend. (Woods' ex-boyfriend David Haughn, who still shared an Upper East Side apartment with her, had left the apartment to get his car to drive her to work - but when he returned, he found Woods' body. During the investigation, the police thought Haughn was cooperative, while Cortez was a "con artist.")