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Stripper’s Murder: There Was Blood Everywhere, Baby

NEW YORK — The former boyfriend of a slain dancer testified Friday he found her body drenched in blood in the apartment they shared and tugged at her shirt to see if she was alive.

“There was no reaction at all. She was just limp, just lying there,” David Haughn testified at the trial of Paul Cortez, a rock musician and yoga instructor who is charged with second-degree murder in the death of 21-year-old Catherine Woods.

Haughn, 25, found Woods’ body in their Manhattan bedroom on Nov. 27, 2005, after he returned from getting his car so he could drive her to the topless bar where she danced. In the bedroom, Haughn said, “There was blood everywhere. I’d never seen so much blood in my life. I called 911.”

Haughn told the 911 operator he tugged at her shirt, which had a bloody footprint on it, to see if she was alive.

Haughn said that after police arrived, they made it clear that he was a suspect. He said they questioned him for almost two days at a police precinct station, but he didn’t ask for a lawyer.

“I said I didn’t need a lawyer,” Haughn, of Columbus, Ohio, testified. “I knew I was telling the truth and I felt the truth would come out.”

Cortez’s lawyer, Laura Miranda, on cross-examination elicited admissions from Haughn that for most of his time with Woods she supported him financially, and that he was unhappy about her relationship with Cortez. Haughn denied he was worried that Woods would find a man with more money than he had.

Woods, also of Columbus, had come to New York City hoping to make it as a dancer on Broadway and had begun dancing in topless joints to pay her expenses. She met Cortez at a neighborhood gym and began dating him in 2004 or 2005.

Her father, John Woods, is the director of the Ohio State University marching band.

Prosecutors say a bloody fingerprint left on a wall matches Cortez. Cortez’s lawyers have denied that he killed her.

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