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January 12, 2006

A Cortez Acquaintance Speaks Out

Someone who went to high school with Paul Cortez emailed me some reflections that she would like to share anonymously:

I've been reading the posts on your blog about Paul Cortez and the Catherine Woods murder. I am fascinated by this case because I wonder what lunacy possessed this guy to do something so horrible. My heart goes out to Catherine's family, and although nothing can bring back their daughter, they must feel relief in police finding the likely perpetrator.

I know Paul from high school and thought you might find some of the observations below interesting.

I went to Poly Prep with Paul for 3 years. When I first met him (we had a class together), he was a sophomore, having arrived to Poly (a small private school, 600 people grades 5-12 at the time, in which it's almost impossible to NOT know somebody. He seemed very friendly, very serene and happy with himself. He was on the football team, part of the Spanish club, and immediately scored a leading role in one of the school plays, a huge feat for a sophomore because those roles were always given to seniors.

We never became friends because we had different schedules, although we were involved in similar activities, like theater. But, now that I really think about, I remember that a certain gradual darkness was taking over him, the more I saw of him and the closer he became to other people at the school. This is something I didn't really think about (especially since I haven't seen the guy in years) until I started processing what I remember of him from high school days. The happy-go-lucky popular guy that I describe when he first got to Poly did exhibit some strange behavior.

The first "incident" I remember is that he locked himself in one of the dressing rooms back stage during rehearsal and did not come out for about 15 mins or so, until he finally let in a friend to talk. He was really upset about something, I don't quite remember what, I think it had to do with not getting some part or something to that effect.

Another "incident" I remember is a fight that he had with another guy, a friend of his over a girl, both of whom did theater. The friend was dating the girl and Paul began to get close to her and hooked up with her, after which he wanted to date her despite the fact that his friend was fairly seriously dating her. I remember a verbal fight between the two that almost resulted in a physical fight (instigated by the upset boyfriend). Through it, I remember Paul to have remained very calm and confident in himself, as thought what happened between him and the girl was just fate and he was not guilty in any way.

Through high school, he was definitely a big flirt, but I more remember most girls falling all over him, and him focusing on only a couple of girls through the time. One was the girl I speak about over. Another was a pretty girl that most guys in our high school drooled over, but who didn't seem to give him much time of a day. A third was an Argentinian girl he met while he was on a 3-week exchange program in Argentina and who came to our high school when she was in NY for 3 weeks.

The last thing I remember is that, close to graduation, he stopped speaking to all of his friends, and would sit by himself at the lunch table, or with a teacher. He was very close to many of the teachers, both male and female, and spent an unusual amount of time with them, to be ridiculed by some as a "kiss-ass." Of course I am sure part of that was jealousy, as in high school it was not considered "cool" to be a good student. I think before graduation he did patch things up with his friends. I saw him briefly the year after he graduated and he looked a bit run down.

Anyway, that's all I can remember for now. I hope this might give some insight into what caused this guy to do what he did, or whether the dementia was part of his personality all along.

Please feel free to post any of this on your blog, but I would ask to please remain anonymous.

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I also went to Poly Prep High School with Paul Cortez. I remember Paul Cortez as this Jacked Theater guy. I remember how pissed he was that OJ got off. How ironic is that?

Posted by: Amin Siad | May 11, 2006 11:13:35 AM

I went to Poly Prep. I remember Paul as being HOT!!! I love guys who kill. My boyfriend in High School was the guy who killed some loser at the St. Paddy's Day Parade. SO HOT!!!

Posted by: Tina Poulos | May 11, 2006 11:22:58 AM

Just becuase someone has a argurment or is upset about somiething does not mean they are a killer. Everyone has a dark side and goes through hard times in there lives. Does that mean they are going to kill someone. The acqaintance that speaks out get a CLUE. I do not know Paul but, I really do not think he killed her.

Posted by: Dawn | May 25, 2007 5:54:00 PM

I agree with Tina 100%. I know myself back in high school, I acted a little weird and sometimes over reacted on many occasions, as I have realized now looking back on that experience. And I haven't killed anybody. And as far as the irony concerning the whole OJ verdict, that doesn't mean anything. Look at OJ now, he is guilty, not Paul!

Posted by: Kelly | Dec 1, 2007 9:14:50 PM

Amin Siad, must be some Middle Eastern bullshit. That would explain your sick and perverted lust for murder.

Posted by: Whatever | Dec 31, 2007 6:26:56 AM

Dear Whatever, it was not Amin Siad that wrote that sick stuff about murder, it was TINA!!! the postings go under the comment. So I would suggest you read before you make comments! And Tina, I think someone needs to turn you in and get you the help you so desperately need!

Posted by: Anonymous | Jan 23, 2008 9:43:34 AM

Well all i can say is how very sad this is. She was living a double life ( two boyfriends and she was a stripper)This should be a lesson to all those girls and guys out there who want to get with every girl or guy it might seem cool to you and your friends but this could happen to you too. When you play with someones heart you never know what there capable of doing. A sweet innocent girl could kill if she has been betrayed and everyone who knew them will be in disbelief. And by the way he did do it they found his bloody finger print on the wall and they have video of him outside her building and many cell phone calls to her house when he said he was home..

Posted by: bobby | Jan 23, 2008 1:42:11 PM

Well all i can say is how very sad this is. She was living a double life ( two boyfriends and she was a stripper)This should be a lesson to all those girls and guys out there who want to get with every girl or guy it might seem cool to you and your friends but this could happen to you too. When you play with someones heart you never know what there capable of doing. A sweet innocent girl could kill if she has been betrayed and everyone who knew them will be in disbelief. And by the way he did do it they found his bloody finger print on the wall and they have video of him outside her building and many cell phone calls to her house when he said he was home..

Posted by: bobby | Jan 23, 2008 1:43:16 PM

Having seen the 48 Hours Mystery program on the case, reading through the evidence that was available on the website it seems to me that the State did not have enough evidence to convict Paul Cortez. I have no idea he is killed this girl or not, BUT the evidence really, trully doesn't point to him. THere are too many inconsistancies in the case. Ideas wern't tests, evidence was lost. I mean "HOW DO YOU NOT DO DNA ON THE HAIR CLASP IN THE DEAD GIRLS HAND". THat doesn't make sense.

Again I do not know if he did it or not.... but the State did not make isn't case and this young man was railroaded. This is NOT how our justice system should work and it is pretty tragic all around.


Posted by: RAB | Jan 24, 2008 12:10:29 PM

PS: If you read the evidence you would have seen the following.

THe fingerprint was UNDER the blood and they could not determine how long the finger print had been there. NOT CONCLUSIVE

And secondly, he called her repeatedly yes, but his calls continued far after she is reportedly murder. Why would be keep calling her if he already killed her??? THe time line doesn't make sense.

Posted by: RAB | Jan 24, 2008 12:14:02 PM

It seems like the newspapers printed a lot of information that was not accurate. The 48 Hours special made it clear that there was no surveillance video with Paul entering or exiting the apartment at all. Yet, the New York Post printed an article that said Paul was on a surveillance video. How does the NY Post get away with printing false information?

From the credible inforamtion I have read, I don't think this guy killer her.

Posted by: Mike | Jan 31, 2008 7:31:02 PM

Wow! he is so innocent! Whatever... Maybe you should do more research before you become a bad "detective"!

Posted by: Katie | Feb 1, 2008 8:49:13 PM

regardless of how weird he was in high school, which is no indication of guilt in itself, let's not forget the bloody fingerprint on the victim's wall. come on people, that is enough, don't you think? the only explanations for his bloody fingerprint in her apartment are 1) he did it, and yes, left evidence behind or 2) he didn't do it,but was at her apartment during, or after her death (meaning he lied in police reports, making him guilty also.) i just think it's so funny that when people discuss this case they always fail to mention the glaring bloody fingerprint.

Posted by: mc | Feb 5, 2008 4:27:40 PM

The fingerprint doesn't prove anything. Apparently, the print they found was a latent print that was only visible days after the murder when interacted with chemicals. He used to date this girl so his prints must be everywhere in the apartment. The blood probably splattered on a pre-existing fingerprint. If the fingerprint was in the blood, you would be able to see it with the naked eye.

Posted by: Jimmy | Feb 22, 2008 12:19:06 PM

check out this website made by catherine's friends that actually have her words about paul cortez and also chilling tesimonial from friends of his that you wil not see on his website..


Posted by: joeseph | Mar 7, 2008 2:57:03 PM

actually the fingerprint was visible with a certain chemical (that is accepted testing for most cases)and is a 13 pt match when seen, BUT the print was clearly part of a bloody handprint that WAS made at the time of the murder, and that is known.

And she was murdered close to 6:40pm .. his last phone call from outside her place or hallway of her place for the most part at 6.33pm.... u figure this out

Posted by: bobby | Mar 7, 2008 3:02:28 PM

Ok, on 48 hours, the lawyers spoke of Ms. Wood having a handful of hair. I am assuming that she pulled the killers hair out in the attack. The police never tested this hair for DNA, what kind of crap is that? That, to me, would be the proof they need.

Posted by: Nikki | Mar 26, 2008 9:56:43 AM

This anonymous insight into Paul's life reflects nothing more than the life of an average kid in highschool. Incident 1 - he simply wanted time to himself and when ready was ready to talk with a friend about it. Incident 2 - typical, 2 guys fighting over a girl. Getting to know his teachers - and??? Maybe he was trying to gegt good references from them..

The letter says nothing to me other then someone whom seemed to observe Paul, his actions and take notes about him.

Posted by: A_Comment | Apr 2, 2008 3:19:26 AM

IF YOU HAVE NOTHING TO HIDE , HIDE NOTHING . So ... why the did he lie about where he was at the time of the murder and say he was at his house ? Oh and if I am being questioned by authorites and need to write my statement , I think I would include where I was but he convienently left that out of his statement, he was still trying to get his story straight .He didn't realize David had moved back in and when he saw him leave to get his car , Paul snapped , went in and killed her. Sometimes common sense needs to make a comeback !

Posted by: Aubree | Jun 10, 2008 7:57:19 PM

Goodness. Paul C. is the type of guy I would have dated back in the day. I usually have a good feeling about people whether they are good looking or not, but I'm having a hard time with this case.
He could have done it-but then again considering the world Catherine Woods slipped into anyone could have done this (i guess the finger print and the shoe print is suppose to be solid evidence). But I wish people would realize how dangerous the 'adult entertainment' world can be. Alot of freaks frequent that world. Who knows if there were any other men obssessed with Woods or if she allowed herself to be someones "companion" for money and then backed out later. So many "good girls" have slipped into this sort of thing.

Posted by: angie | Jun 21, 2008 5:29:30 PM

Just saw the 48 Hours show. No passion for innocence whatsoever. Thumb print sealed his fate. Much rage here. I hope he dies in prison.

Posted by: mark | Sep 27, 2008 3:40:12 AM

This is a complicated case, will we ever know what truly happened or who did this crime...I think it's highly unlikely. However we all have our opinions, good or bad. My opinion is that there was simply not enough evidence to convict, everything that pretains to this case is simply very sad...I do however wonder about the live in boyfriend, he to me seemed a bit odd, his character was a bit off and distant. Anyway Paul Cortez should have never been convicted, I find little justice in the system!

Posted by: Kim | Feb 18, 2009 11:42:50 PM

hola plz ant one know arbic translate that for me http://www.s7ak.com/banatfun-f22.html - http://www.s7ak.com/banatfun-f22.html all love (kiss)

Posted by: FexkislimiWem | Mar 28, 2009 10:22:49 AM

ok!remember the case of Tim Masters!his drawings,how the boy like knifes,is that evidences to convict for murder?every person is so different!and nobody can describe or get inside in your minds or feelings as you can youself!maybe here a lot of mistakes in my comment,because i am from lithuania.

Posted by: lijana | Feb 22, 2010 5:00:44 AM

ok,remember the case of Tim Martens!if the boy liked knifes or cruel drawings,is that the reason,without any evidence,to send him in jail for life in prison,for homiside,who did not commit?paul cortez`s boots video nonsense,i can not see real boots sample in the video

Posted by: lijana | Feb 22, 2010 5:08:27 AM

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