Testimony in the trial of Paul Cortez, accused of murdering ex-girlfriend Catherine Woods, was completed yesterday after the prosecution questioned Cortez. The prosecution tried to prove that Cortez was jealous of Woods' ex-boyfriend David Haughn, who still lived with Woods even while they were broken up and Woods was dating Cortez. Assistant DA Peter Casolaro said, "Your competition was an inarticulate, uneducated, slow, not-much-to-look-at rube from Ohio, right?" after saying that Cortez was "physically fit, talented and articulate" (Cortez thanked him).
Casolaro also asked Cortez, referring to 250 pages of Cortez's diary entries, "Do you remember writing that you want to f--- all these girls with your hard c--- and turn them to stone? Didn't you write that since your mother and other women had hurt you, you wanted to bury every girl in the ground?" Cortez answered that he may have written that as an acting exercise to prepare for a role in Hamlet. Cortez also explained that one of his drawings that Casolaro described as a "warrior with a sword" was "actually a foot soldier and two Ninja Turtles."
And ADA Casolaro tackled Cortez's lyrics for a song "Killin' Machine" which Cortez said was, as the Post puts it, "a parody of violent male fantasies" and that the steel "Killin' Machine" in question was really a sex toy. From the NY Times:
Mr. Casolaro asked if Mr. Cortez equated sex with violence in the lyrics to a song called “Killin Machine.”
Mr. Cortez said that perhaps the prosecutor was too old to understand rock music the way his generation wrote it. Mr. Casolaro said that despite his graying hair, he knew something about sex toys. They were made of plastic and rubber, he said, but the blade in the song was made of steel.
“So are guns,” Mr. Cortez replied. “So are cars, and a lot of other things.”
The Post reports that the courtroom laughed when Casolaro mentioned his generation's sex toys were made of plastic and rubber.
Closing arguments will be next week. There was a CBS News story about Woods' murder from May 2006 that's very enlightening and offers perspective from Haughn, the ex-boyfriend who found Woods' body, Woods' parents, Cortez's family and friends, and more.
And for fans of forensics: Regarding the defense's attempt to suggest that a bloody thumbprint (that seems to match Cortez's) found on Woods' apartment wall could have been from their lovemaking while Woods had her period, we asked a couple doctors what a test on the bloody thumbprint might reveal. If the blood is from a period, it could have endometrial elements. But if the blood did not have endometrial elements, it wouldn't necessarily mean the blood couldn't be from a period.