An often overlooked piece of evidence in the murder of Catherine Woods is presence of the two dogs – one, a Chihuahua named Josie, owned by Catherine & David, and the other, a medium sized black Lab, being tended to by David, who had been “dogsitting” for friends, which he’d begun doing a few days prior to Catherine’s murder.
According to David Haughn (police statement and court testimony), he got off work at 7am and sat in his car copying lyrics from a CD; he returned to the apartment about 7:45am.
8 Q And what time do you think you got to the
10 A Maybe 7:45.
11 Q Was Miss Woods home when you arrived?
12 A Yes.
13 Q Where was she in the apartment?
14 A She was in bed.
15 Q In the bedroom?
16 A Yes.
17 Q Were the dogs in the apartment?
18 A Yes.
19 Q Where were they?
20 A I’m not exactly sure. I — just I know
21 when I went into the apartment, you know, I knew my
22 dog, the Chihuahua would get real excited.
23 And the black Lab that we had actually had
24 that at that time that I was a dog sitting was on
25 our apartment at that time and I remember that both
1 of them were, you know, barking and excited that I
2 was coming into the apartment and it had actually
3 woke her up.
4 Q What happened when you went into the
6 A I closed the door and I remember trying to
7 calm the dogs down because I knew she was asleep and
8 her waking up and her telling me to, you know, quiet
9 the dogs down and because I had woke her up.
According to David via court testimony, the book Death of a Dream and 48 Hours Mystery covering the case, he had only been dog sitting the black Lab and had started doing that about 3 days prior to Thanksgiving. It is important to note that the black Lab did not belong to David Haughn – he’d only been dog sitting for three days.
According to David Haughn, when he got up later that afternoon, he took the Lab out to the use the restroom:
9 Q What time did you wake up?
10 A I can’t remember.
11 Q Was it noon, three o’clock?
12 A Definitely I would say noon.
13 Q Late afternoon, early afternoon?
14 A Three, four, that sounds about usually
15 what time I would get up.
16 Q When you woke up, was Miss Woods still in
17 the apartment?
18 A No.
19 Q Tell us what you did when you got up.
20 A I think I turned on the TV and I actually
21 just sat up and watched TV for a little bit.
22 And I remember having to take the dogs
23 out. I don’t know if I took both of them out, but I
24 remember taking the Lab out.
25 She had to use the restroom and coming
1 back in.
2 Q What do you mean “use the restroom”? You
3 take the dog to the restroom?
4 A Taking the dog outside.
5 Q The great restroom that we all live
7 A Yeah.
8 Q What time — when you went outside, do you
9 know where you went?
10 A Usually I would stay on the block or just
11 circle the block.
12 I think I stayed close.
13 Q Did you meet anyone while you were outside
14 with the dog?
15 A Not that I can remember.
22 Q Did you see Miss Woods that night?
23 A I seen her, I seen her sometime around I
24 want to say five.
25 There was a lot of things that I was doing
1 errands in between, getting food and taking care of
2 the dogs.
3 But I remember at one point I think I was,
4 I don’t know if that’s when I actually took the dog
5 out or not, but I remember actually having the Lab
6 with me and before I left getting a phone call from
7 Catherine and her telling me that she was close to
8 the apartment and me telling her that I was about to
9 step out of the apartment.
10 So I do remember leaving the apartment and
11 going towards Second Avenue and at about halfway up
12 the block, about where the mattress store is, seeing
13 her walking down and we stopped and talked and I had
14 walked back with her.
At this point in his testimony, the prosecutor introduces photo stills of footage from a nearby surveillance camera and Haughn acknowledges that it shows himself, Catherine and the dog – the Lab – in the image. The timestamp reads military: 16:59, which is 4:59pm.
6 Q Did Miss Woods have anything while you
7 were there?
8 A No, she had actually asked if I would get
9 her something.
10 Q What did you get her?
11 A She liked those — it’s kind of like a
12 healthy TV dinner Santa Fe chicken.
13 I don’t know who makes it. It’s in a red
14 box, kind of small.
15 Q Where did you get that?
16 A Gristides.
17 Q Where is the Gristides?
18 A Directly across the street from our
20 Q So about what time did you get back to the
22 A I think I brought the dog back before I
23 got her food because I couldn’t bring the dog into
24 Gristides and —
25 Q Go ahead.
1 A I think I might have been there a few
2 minutes and she asked if I could get her something
3 and she told me what she wanted and I think I went
4 right back out, so …
5 Q Now, what time do you think you were back
6 in the apartment, just your best estimate?
7 A I’m not sure, maybe, maybe 5:30 or so.
8 I’m not sure.
The status of both dogs, then, is inside the apartment.
16 Q Were the dogs in the apartment at that
18 A Yes.
A little later, after eating, David claims they had quickie sex and then:
11 Q Did you guys do anything else?
12 A We had had sex actually before I left the
14 Q Well, how did that come about?
15 A Within the time of her getting ready, she
16 wasn’t fully dressed and, you know, was just getting
17 things together.
18 And at one point we had met in the hallway
19 and started making out and that led to us having sex
20 in the bedroom.
21 Q This was before or after? This is after
22 you came back with the food?
23 A Yes.
24 Q Did it take a lot of time or did it take a
25 short time?
1 A No, it was short.
2 Q Where did this occur; in what room?
3 A In the bedroom.
4 Q On the bed?
5 A On the bed, yes.
6 Q Did you use a condom?
7 A No.
8 Q Did you ejaculate during this?
9 A Yes, I did. And when I did, I pulled out
10 and I caught it in my hand.
11 Q Why did you do that?
12 A She didn’t like it, you know, to get it on
13 her and I didn’t want to come inside of her, so I
14 caught it in my hand and went into the restroom and
15 washed my hands.
16 Q And do you have any idea what time it was
17 when this happened?
18 A No.
19 Q What happened after you guys had
21 A I remember I told her that while she was
22 getting ready that I could go get the car and, you
23 know, while she is getting ready and be able to pick
24 her up that way, so …
2 Q Now, you said you had left the apartment.
3 Do you know what time it was when you left
4 the apartment?
5 A I don’t know an exact time. I would have
6 to say after six.
So, it’s after 6pm and this is David’s account of what he did from after 6pm:
18 Where did you go?
19 A To my car on 87th Street across the street
20 from my work.
21 Q What did you do when you went to your
23 A Actually before I went to my car, there
24 was a CD I wanted to get.
25 I had kind of a nice stereo in my car and,
1 you know, that was one of the things that I enjoyed
2 when I was in my car was the stereo.
3 So I actually the night before at work, I
4 had left my CD case at work beside my desk, so
5 before I went to my car, I actually walked across
6 the street to work and went into my work.
7 And actually went I went into work, the
8 guy who was working the shift that I would have came
9 in and relieved him Ali was working the second shift
10 at that time and he was at that desk actually
11 talking to my boss Joe Tabone.
12 I walked in. I said hello to both of
13 them, grabbed my CD case.
14 And, you know, with Christmas coming up
15 and everything, that was the time that we had
16 always, me and Catherine had always tried to make it
17 home for Christmas for the holidays.
18 And I had always tried to give them a head
19 up as far as, you know, he was very flexible and try
20 to make it fair for everybody as far as who could
21 take vacations off and have that time off.
22 And I remember we had had a discussion
23 about that and him telling me that there were a few
24 people that had also wanted Christmas off.
25 And it was kind of a situation where we
1 had to figure it out, so we conversated for a little
2 bit. I don’t know exactly how long. I was there
3 ten minutes or so, something like that.
4 And I remember when I left, I went to my
5 car, which is directly across the street from my
6 work, maybe a little more, not closer to Second
7 Avenue, but kind of diagonal that way from my
9 You know, got into my car. Started it,
10 sat in there for a minute, changed the CDs around,
11 put the CD in that I wanted to listen to.
12 And I remember when I was sitting there,
13 somebody actually pulling up beside me and, you
14 know, asking if I was about to leave or was he
15 parking and I said, “Yeah, I’m about to pull
17 So I pulled out and I would assume that
18 car pulled in, but I can’t say for sure.
19 And 87th Street is a one way going up
20 towards Second Avenue, so I went to Second Avenue
21 and was stopped at a red light.
22 Q How long do you think you were stopped at
23 the light?
24 A I’m not sure. A minute or two. I’m not
1 Q Then what did you do?
2 A I made a left on Second Avenue down to
3 86th Street.
4 I caught that red light also and once it
5 turned green, I turned left on 86th Street towards
6 our apartment.
7 Once I did that, usually I would call
8 Catherine on the cell phone to let her know I was
9 coming on the block and usually she would come down
10 or let me know she was getting ready and she would
11 be down in a second.
12 So I called while I was driving on 86th
13 Street and there wasn’t no answer.
14 So usually I would park in front of the
15 building, but since, you know, the line of traffic
16 goes towards Second Avenue, once I got to First
17 Avenue, I waited for a clear traffic and did a
18 U-turn and actually parked in front of I think there
19 was a laundry store and a laundry shop and another
21 I parked right there on the corner and
22 that’s where I would usually wait for her.
23 Q So you were going eastbound —
24 A Yes.
25 Q — on 86th and you made a U-turn to face
1 your car westbound?
2 A Yes.
3 Q Did you go right up to the curb on the
4 north side of the street?
5 A I don’t know how close I was, but I
6 definitely parked close to that corner.
7 Q So you’re very close to the corner of
8 First and 86th; is that right?
9 A Eighty-Seventh.
10 Q Eighty-Seventh?
11 A Yes — oh, no, 86th, I’m sorry,
20 Q So you get out of the car right away or
21 did you do something else before you got out?
22 A No, I think I tried to call her again and
23 there still wasn’t an answer, so when I didn’t get
24 an answer, I didn’t think anything of it.
25 I just figured either she was still
1 getting ready or something, so I go up to the
3 Q Did you wait in the car for any period of
5 A I can’t remember how long, but I don’t
6 think it was long.
7 I remember going up to the buzzer and
8 hitting the buzzer a few times and not getting an
9 answer. Hitting the buzzer again and still there
10 wasn’t no answer.
11 And I just remember thinking,
12 well, either she is coming down or just kind of
14 I don’t know if I tried to call her again
15 or not, but I remember I had had my keys in the car,
16 so I was gonna go up and, you know, let her know I
17 was down here and ready to pick her up.
18 So I went back to my car. I took the keys
19 out of the ignition. I went to the gate of the
21 When I got to the gate of the apartment, I
22 don’t know, I don’t even know if I put the key in
23 the door yet or not and the guy who had actually
24 lived on my floor, I can’t remember his name, I
25 think he has dark, dark brown hair, almost black
1 and he met me at the gate and he was walking his
3 I think he had, I don’t know if
4 they were German Sheppard or Huskies, two
5 real nice size dogs, and told me, he said, “You’re
6 dog got out.” And I said, “What do you mean, what
8 I was just kind of confused. You know, my
9 dog can’t get out, so I didn’t know what he was
10 talking about.
11 He said, “Your black Lab, your
12 black Lab got out and was running down First
14 And when he said that, it just — it
15 really struck me as odd and just, just, I don’t
16 know, just something weird. Just like — I just
17 felt like something wasn’t right.
20 Q Well, had you locked the door to the
21 apartment when you left it?
22 A No.
23 Q Was your door a self-locking door, if you
24 slam it, it locks?
25 A No.
1 Q How did you have to lock your door?
2 A We had — if you were leaving the
3 apartment, we had a bottom lock that you could lock
4 and then there was a dead bolt.
5 And then there was a — from the inside,
6 we had a chain bolt also, but just two locks from
7 the outside.
8 Q Did you need a key for each lock or would
9 one key do it?
10 A You needed a key, I think so.
11 Q Two keys?
12 A I think so.
13 Q So when you found out your dogs were out,
14 what did you do?
15 A Right. I walked up. He lived on
16 the same floor as me, so we had walked up side by
18 And once I got to the second
19 floor, my apartment was real close to the
20 steps and a black Lab was in the hallway and I had
21 grabbed the black Lab and I told the guy, “Thank
23 Still kind of confused of, you know, how
24 the dog got out, I walk into the apartment. The
25 apartment door is still unlocked.
1 I walk in and I remember —
2 Q Was it open or closed?
3 A It was closed.
4 So I walk into the apartment and I
5 remember seeing my Chihuahua on the futon like right
6 on the edge of the futon looking right at me as I
7 walk in and, you know, I let the Lab in and I close
8 the door behind me.
According to police and legal case files, and even acknowledged in DOAD/48H, however, the neighbor in question is Brad Stewart and he did not provide testimony in the trial of Paul Cortez.
An excerpt from Death of a Dream: Blood Everywhere:
“Brad Stewart lived in apartment 2J, on the same floor as Catherine. Though he says he heard nothing, he did notice something amiss when he went out to walk his two Huskies at, he says, 6:00pm.”
“But Brad never wavered from the time he says he noticed something was wrong. At 6:00pm, he says, he was on First Avenue, just down the block from his building, when he saw a dog off its leash, a black Lab that Brad immediately recognized as the dog belonging to David Haughn. The dog seemed frightened, but Brad caught up to it, brought it back to the building, and went out again to walk his dogs.
‘….he [David] dialed Catherine from his cell phone. ‘Usually I would call Catherine to let her know I was coming on the block and usually she would come down or let me know she was getting ready and she would be down in a second,’ he said.
This time, however, she [Catherine] didn’t answer. Cell phone records would later show that the time of that call to be 6:47pm.”
While here, DOAD also notes:
“David went back to his car, shut it off, and returned to the front gate, where he ran into Brad Stewart, who was just then coming back from walking his dogs. ‘Hey, your dog got out,’ Brad told David.
‘What do you mean?’ David asked. ‘What dog?’
‘Your black Lab. Your black Lab got out and was running down First Avenue.’
Brad told David that he’d chased the dog down and had brought him back upstairs. At this point, the two men were walking side by side up the stairs. When they got to the second floor, David saw the black Lab had again escaped from the apartment and was now in the hallway. He thanked Brad and brought the lab into the apartment with him.”
However, the police canvass notes, police reports, and reinterviews with Brad and his girlfriend, tell an altogether different story, and would explain why, in a case dedicated to showing Paul’s guilt, Brad and his girlfriend were never actually called to the testify:
Police Report: Brad Stewart “On 11/27/05 the u/s spoke to Mr. Brad Stewart who lives in apt 2J was home since approx 1100 hrs and he did not hear anything. At approx 1800 hrs Brad went out to walk his dog, as he was outside in the vestibule area he saw a dog there that was not on a leash, the dog by its self shaking, Brad leashed the dog and took it into the building, Brad knew that the dog belonged to the male that lives in apt 2D. The dog appeared to be frightened and did not want to go back into the building. Brad went into the building with the dog and knocked on apt 2D but there was no answer so he went to his apt and told his girlfriend.”
Police Report Re-Interview Brad Stewart “…stated in substance that he was at home with his girlfriend Julia and stated that they did not hear any noises, Brad stated that at approximately 1800-1830 hours he was leaving apartment to walk his dogs when he did get into vestibule noticed black dog down by door trying to get out, dog he stated belonged to David that he stateds [sic] David walked, delivery guy pushed through door and dog got out head towards 1st ave where Brad retrieved the dog put a leash on and took dog back to the building to apartment 2d saw door was ajar light was on, sounded as if someone there but could have been the television no answer but heard buzzer ring.
Then David came up the stairs and Brad stated that he found his dog, David looked confused and stated that he was gone 20 minutes and thought that his brother was looking after the dog, he then looked at the dog shocked. David thanked him than [sic] Brad left building and David went into his apartment. Julia called him shortly after he left and said that neighbor was hurt came running back to the building and saw David with detectives, said David looked dead and that David stated to him that she didn’t do it to herself. Told David to hang in there David looked shocked.”
Police Report: Julia Jeon “Ms Jeon stated that on 11/27/05 between the hours of 1800-1830 her boyfriend Brad had come home complaining of David’s dog that was running around the building and he had confronted him saying why did you let your dog out. David had said my brother was supposed to be watching him. She states David then walked towards his apt as her boyfriend left her apt to walk their dogs.”
Police Report: Julia Jeon “Ms Jeon stated approx 5 minutes later David came back to her apt knocking, he stated to her, she’s not breathing, there’s blood everywhere. Ms Jeon said who the dog, he said no can you come with me. Ms Jeon asked David if he called the police and he said yes.”
Police Report: Julia Jeon “Ms Jeon went with David to his apt and she opened the door by turning the knob and pushed the door with her left arm. Ms Delon [sic] stated as she walked into the victim’s apt she saw that the TV was on and when she looked towards her right she could see blood all over, she noticed that bed was turned. Ms Delon [sic] states she immediately exited the apt and did not see the victim. She states David said did you see the boot print on the bed. She did not. Ms Delon states at that point the police and the ambulance had came and started to talk with her boyfriend Brad. Ms Delon [sic] believed that David had been wearing a black heavy cloth style jacket and she did not re-call seeing any blood on him.”
Nevertheless, both dogs are inside the apartment.
Now, let’s look at Andrew Gold, the neighbor who lived on the 3rd floor in the apartment directly above Catherine’s, and whose floorplan was the same.
Andrew’s own cell records confirm:
22 Q While you were watching t.v. and your
23 fiancee called you, how long did you have a
24 conversation with her?
25 A Let’s see. About maybe twenty minutes.
1 Q And at sometime into that conversation,
2 did you hear noise, other than her speaking through
3 the phone or your television?
4 A Yes, I did.
11 Q About how long through the phone call do
12 you recall hearing something?
13 A About maybe two, three, four minutes.
14 Q Did you look at the —
15 A Five minutes. Five minutes.
16 Q Did you look at the VCR clock you referred
17 to before when you heard something unusual?
18 A I was looking at the cable box. The VCR
19 didn’t — I couldn’t read the time. Yeah, it was
20 the cable box.
21 Yeah, I did. I was sitting right in front of
22 it. So, it was — you know, I was on the phone,
23 looking at the picture, looking.
24 Q Can you fix the time that you heard
25 something unusual exactly, at least according to
1 your cable box?
2 A Uhm, I believe it was twenty-five after.
3 6:25. Six — yeah. Six — it wasn’t — it was no
4 later than 6:25.
5 Q What is it that you heard while you were
6 talking to your fiancee?
7 A I heard a scream. And — I heard a
8 scream, and then I heard scuffling. It sounded like
9 scuffle, and I heard a dog barking, and then I heard
10 another scream, and then I heard a thud. And then
12 Q Let’s go back to before you heard the
13 first scream.
14 Did you hear anything at all, any arguing, any
15 loud voices, anything like that?
16 A I heard nothing. It was very quiet in the
17 apartment. It was away from the street.
18 Q Normally, can you hear things from the
19 apartment underneath you?
20 A No. You can hear music, occasionally, at
22 Q The first scream you heard, was it loud,
23 was it soft, was it long, was it short? Could you
24 describe it to us?
25 A It was loud. It was loud enough for me to
1 hear it. It was a loud, short scream.
2 Q Could you tell if it was a man or a woman?
3 A It was a woman.
4 Q How much time passed then before you heard
5 this scuffling, if any time at all?
6 A It was just followed immediately.
7 Q So, the scream and scuffling?
8 A I heard the scream and scuffling and
9 followed by — and the dog barking.
10 Q How long did the scuffling go on?
11 A Maybe a minute. Maybe not even. The
12 whole thing was maybe less than five minutes from
13 beginning to end.
14 I’m sorry. That’s not what you asked me.
15 Q How about the dog barking? Was that one
16 bark, many barks?
17 A It was numerous barking. It was from the
18 time I heard the first scream until I heard the last
19 scream, and then the dog disappeared and was gone, I
20 didn’t hear it.
21 Q Was it loud barking or soft barking?
22 A Yelping. Loud barking. Like when you
23 walk up to the driveway or something and there’s a
24 dog at the house.
25 Q Now, you said then you heard a second
1 scream. Could you describe that scream?
2 A That was — that was longer and louder.
3 Sharper than the first scream.
4 Q And how long did that last, a second, two
5 seconds, three seconds? What are we talking about?
6 A Two seconds, maybe.
7 Q Then you said you heard a thud. How long
8 after the second scream did you hear the thud?
9 A A couple of seconds later. It was very
11 Q And then you heard nothing?
12 A Nothing. Nothing.
13 Q While you were talking to your fiancee on
14 the telephone, did you stop talking when all this
15 noise came?
16 A Yes.
17 Q Did you then — did you mention it to her
18 in the conversation after you heard it?
19 A After hearing the scuffling, I said, “Did
20 you hear that?” And she said, “Yes. What is it?”
21 So — I said, “Shh. Be quiet,” you know, because I
22 heard the barking, the scuffling and then the scream
23 again and the thud.
24 Q After it was over, did you continue
25 talking to your fiancee?
1 A Just for a few minutes. I had to —
2 Q Go ahead. What else?
3 A I had to leave. I had to go over to a
4 couple of blocks away to bring something by to get
5 to her — about a quarter of seven. So, I had to be
6 out the door by twenty of.
7 Q Did you look out your apartment door at
8 any point to see if there was anything going on?
9 A Yes, I did. Yes.
10 Q When was that? At what point?
11 A Right after I got off the phone, I went
12 outside to see if there was anything going on
13 because it was not normal to hear what I heard. I
14 went out, looked around to my left and my right. I
15 didn’t see anyone sticking their head out. I
16 actually went out and looked out the window on 86th
17 Street to see if there was any fire engine,
18 something. There was nothing. Then I went to the
19 banister and looked up and down, down from the
20 second floor to the fourth floor, and I yelled out,
21 “Is anyone out there?” And there was nothing. So,
22 I figured there was nothing going on.
This call was verified beginning at 6:18pm lasting 22 minutes, which ends that call at 6:40pm. At which point Gold, because of the ruckus, goes outside his apartment and investigates.
Gold also acknowledges multiple times he heard only one dog. Not two. One.
This then, is the established time frame for the chain of events:
6pm: Brad Stewart leaves to walk dogs.
“After 6pm” David Haughn leaves on foot, to walk around the block to 87th st to his car and stop by his place of employment, where he (and his co workers) claim he stayed about 10 minutes, and then it took him about 3 to pull up in front of the curb and make the 2nd call to Catherine:
At 6:47ish, David encounters Brad Stewart where Brad tells him about the Lab. David takes the Lab inside, where the Chihuahua is on the futon.
Just for the record, though David claims to have called Catherine 3 times on his route from work to the apartment, his phone records do not support his claims. The only call David placed to Catherine was at 6:47pm. His next call is to 911 at 6:56pm, and not 6:59pm. The call duration was a bit over 3 minutes, ending at 6:59pm.
6:56pm David calls 911.
7:07pm, EMT and police arrive, David is downstairs getting the dog:
10 Q What happened next?
11 A At that point the guy who, the guy
12 who told me about the dogs — I just was just so
13 scared at this point and really didn’t know what to
15 And I just — I didn’t want to be by
16 myself and I wanted, I don’t know, something, just
17 wanted to get him.
18 I went to go get him, which he lived on
19 the same floor as me.
20 So I went to his apartment and
21 actually I didn’t know if it was his wife or
22 girlfriend who answered the door, but she had
23 answered the door.
24 And I told her that something, you know,
25 something bad had happened and that I had called 911
1 and was just, just kind of confused.
2 I didn’t know what to do. And I’m
3 thinking about it now, I feel bad that, you
4 know, that I brought her into the apartment
5 for her to have to see that where, where she walked
6 into the apartment with me and I remember her
8 And I think I remember when I opened the
9 door to let her into the apartment, I think the
10 black Lab had ran out.
11 That’s one thing I noticed that the black
12 Lab was real scared.
13 I had never — you know, I have handled
14 this dog many a times and I have never seen a dog
15 this scared and like when that door opened, she
16 bolted out.
17 And I remember at one point, my Chihuahua
18 actually laying next to Josie — I mean, my
19 Chihuahua laying next to Catherine and I remember
20 actually her chasing the Lab downstairs back to
21 where the mail room was.
7:10pm Catherine is pronounced dead at the scene.
ASSUMED TIMEFRAME OF MURDER
Andrew Gold’s (and Donna Propp’s) phone record confirms the call between 6:18pm and 6:40pm, 22 minutes. Both say generally that 5-10 minutes into the call they heard the woman screaming, a small dog barking (from police interview), moving around, furniture moving, another scream seeming to be abruptly cut short, a thud and all goes quiet. If we add 5 minutes to 6:18, the onset of the attack begins about 6:23pm. If it lasts 5-7 minutes, adding 7 minutes puts the end time at 6:30pm.
Add 5 minutes for a required clean up time, to remove loose visible blood from the killer’s exposed parts, remove boots so as not to leave tracks (since tracks out into the living room, hall, stairs, etc were not seen), collect any evidence and walk out of the apartment, down the stairs, and out through the gate onto the sidewalk where people are, and the time would be 6:35pm…which, of course, falls apart when considering lead homicide detective Steven Goetz’ timeline that acknowledges the existence of a building security camera showing David leaving the building at 6:25pm and throwing the whole time off the charts.
After he hung up at 6:40pm, he went out into the hallway and called out, surveying the area and assuming it was okay since no police were present or showing up.
This statement that the police hadn’t shown up reassuring him it must not have been too serious after all shows that the commotion was alarming enough to him it sounded quite serious, and he went to at least make an attempt to find out what the deal was.
Then he gets his things and takes the elevator down, leaving the building – this would take place between 6:40 and 6:45pm.
David, however, makes his “last” call to Catherine, he claims, from sitting outside the building at 6:47pm. Before he was sitting outside the building, he was parking the car beside the hydrant, and then he was out front of the building, buzzing and waiting, not getting an answer, and then going back to the car. He stated he waited “a few minutes” before going back to the car, turning it off since he’d left it running, and going to use his key to go upstairs and see about her. He then claims he encounters Brad Stewart outside the building at the gate and they both went upstairs together where he finds the lab in the hallway.
For this to be true, David would have been out front “waiting” on Catherine around his car or at the buzzer for those “few minutes” which would’ve put him directly in the path of Andrew Gold as he was leaving. Two minutes from Andrew leaving by 6:45 to David’s calling Catherine at 6:47pm, but he was still out front when he made that call, after having been there “a few minutes” buzzing.
Andrew Gold did not see David Haughn anywhere around there. David Haughn does not mention encountering Andrew Gold as he was exiting. Neither of them saw Paul leaving, which is about the only “free” time Paul (or anyone else) would’ve had to exit the scene if the end of the noisy part of the attack stopped at 6:30pm and another “few minutes” required to gather up any evidence and clean up to avoid detection on a public street..meaning the killer would also have to leave the building and be long gone before Andrew Gold was outside in the hallway looking out the window not seeing anyone coming or going, and no further suspicious activity.
If David’s account is true, then he had to be in front of the building as early as 6:40pm (driving by the building, making a u turn, pulling along the curb by the hydrant, going to the buzzer, giving it “a few minutes” and going back to his car – in whatever order of play, and then making the only call at 6:47pm and he did not encounter Andrew, nor did he see Paul exiting the building, either.
If Catherine was presumed alive at 6:03pm, based on cell phone activity (calling voicemail), and David left the building at 6:25pm, based on lead homicide detective Steven Goetz’ homicide outline report, and the Gold/Propp phone records narrow the window to between 6:20 and 6:30pm, and the audible portion of the attack lasted 5-7 minutes, then the window is narrowed to a mere 5 minutes to escape and do so undetected, at least by Andrew Gold who’d left later.
However, we know Brad and David met the 2nd time right after David’s 6:47pm phone call, so the time frame for Brad’s activities leading up to the first knock on 2D – leaving his residence with his dogs, going down stairs, seeing the lab in the vestibule area, the delivery person pushing open the gate and the lab getting out, Brad going to get the dog and returning it to 2D the first time where he sees the door ajar and gets no answer, has to take place before 6:50pm and after 6:25pm, as Goetz’s timeline acknowledges, which puts David Haughn inside the apartment during the crucial 6:20-6:30 window for the attack on Catherine.
This means the dog was let out of the apartment, but still inside the building (delivery guy opening the door let the dog get out), and the killer had already left the apartment and let the dog out because Brad found it before he took it to the apartment the 1st time and got no answer.
David’s statements and testimony depict both dogs getting excited and barking, making noise when he entered the apartment, and getting excited when they need to be taken out.
Gold/Propp, and Danzig/Van Deusen neighbors both report hearing the dog barking. Andrew always refers to “a dog” several times, and in the canvass notes, it states “a small dog barking”. There is a huge distinction between a Chihuahua bark and a medium sized Lab bark. This indicates there was only one dog present during the attack, the manageable Chihuahua, and the dog was let out prior to the attack, which, again, is between 6:03 and 6:20pm, roughly 20 minutes.
The only one who factually left is David Haughn, when both dogs were still inside the apartment.
Dogs cannot call 911. Dogs cannot open doors and gates that are secured by locking mechanisms. Dogs cannot push elevator door buttons. The lab David was sitting for had the apartment door to get through, the door to and from the stair well to get through, the door from the lobby into the vestibule to get through, and the front gate, and that is why the prosecution opted to avoid having testimony by Brad Stewart, Julia Jeon, David Haughn’s little brother (who would’ve been 12-13 at the time), why they were never called as witnesses, and why they avoided any specifics on the dogs, the lab in particular, because they would’ve been forced to explain this problem in an intelligent fashion, along with delving into David’s lie about his brother, the addition of a delivery guy the police never attempted to locate and identify, and the fact Brad would’ve mentioned the apartment door being ajar because he knocked twice, and that would’ve instantly provided reasonable doubt.
Brad Stewart stated the dog was in the vestibule area, which means someone let the dog out, not just in the hallway to run loose, but had to physically escort the dog out of 3 other doors and leave it in the vestibule, the area or passage way between points – the door and the gate. So it’s not a case of opening the apartment door and the dog ending up running around the street. This is a case of three locking or latching doors and a locking front gate requiring a key or a buzz in from inside…which is where the dog met its final obstacle…and if the dog couldn’t get out because of a locking gate, then it’s highly unlikely an outside killer could’ve gotten in either.
This is a deliberate act – letting it out of the apartment, but not loose on the street, and that shows more regard for the lab than it does for Catherine.
A dog is equipped with exactly the same threat response as every other animal, including us humans. Fight or Flight (or immobilize while processing threat). We know the dogs tended to make noise when David entered, but according to Brad, he’d been able to not only stop the lab out around 1st, but also put a leash on it and bring it upstairs, and take it into his own apartment, let it around Julia and apparently did all of this without barking or making much noise otherwise. That suggests the dog did not perceive any sort of threat in Brad or Julia, or with David (barking was excited barking, not fear barking).
The case against Paul was that this was a premeditated act triggered by the very fact Catherine had been avoiding him because she felt he was a creepy stalker. David had only started sitting the lab 3 days prior. Given this fact, it is unlikely then that Catherine would’ve informed Paul at any point there was a new dog on the premises, so Paul would not have awareness of another dog present when he was waiting outside for David to leave, or how he’d known David was going to leave either way.
That would mean the dog and Paul, or any other killer, would’ve been strangers. If the dog barked when David entered the apartment, then it would have been barking for sure when a stranger entered the apartment, and most assuredly when the stranger began attacking Catherine, as evidenced by at least 4 ear witnesses, which would only draw attention and escalate the risk.
It would’ve meant that Paul (as killer) would’ve, after figuring out how to overcome the obstacle of the locking gate requiring key or buzzing for entry, encountered a barking dog the second he opened the apartment door. The implication, that certainly complies with the ear witnesses, is that the killer is the one who let the dog out and that’s why, according to David (and later Brad) the dog seemed scared, shaking, and not wanting to go back inside. But we know the dog was not present during the actual attack as only ONE dog was doing the barking, therefore there’s no basis for the lab to be scared and not wanting to go inside – related to observing a brutal murder.
Furthermore, the lab would absolutely NOT just hang out observing a brutal murder. The dog would’ve been sensing Catherine’s fear and it would’ve started barking first, and as things escalated, especially if the stranger is chasing her – which looks like prey to a riled up, threatened animal, the dog would’ve almost certainly gone after the killer, if not immediately when the stranger walked inside the apartment because he’d sense an instant threat with a stranger going after someone he’d perceive as part of his pack, which is typical canine behavior this particular dog would not have been immune to.
Thus the killer stood the very real risk of being attacked by a medium sized black dog who’d just started barking, escalating risk and putting neighbors on alert…so, if the goal was to eliminate Catherine, the odds are the killer would’ve taken out the barking dog right off the bat. Since nobody heard any “yelping” as if the dog was being attacked, kicked, threatened in a fashion it triggered FLIGHT response to run away or cower, then the only other option is the dog would’ve been in FIGHT mode, which would’ve triggered him to go after the killer.
None of which took place.
The other problem is that the killer would’ve had to silence the dog and would’ve done so without actually hurting the dog…which would be letting it out of the apartment. But then it also means the killer took the dog through 2 other doors but not out the gate. Then the killer would’ve returned upstairs to continue the attack on Catherine, which is absolutely unlikely, since that’d be plenty of time for Catherine to get help, call 911, etc.
The killer couldn’t be a stranger. The killer, as with the classic tale of the dogs who did not bark, had to be familiar to the stranger…but since we know the dog was not present, then the killer let the dog out and got it all the way downstairs without the dog barking either way…and the only dog doing the barking had been the Chihuahua still left inside. The fact only one dog was loose and not the other shows the killer knew only one dog posed a real risk, else they’d both have still been inside. Nobody’s afraid of a Chihuahua who can be easily punted across the room if necessary.
Neither dog was harmed. One dog was out – because the killer recognized the risk of personal injury and unwanted attention. That shows the killer was very well aware of this dog’s nature…and no outsider would be able to make that determination walking in cold and seeing the dog for the first time. The killer did not interrupt his mission to murder Catherine just take the dog downstairs and put it out into the vestibule area.
The killer could not have been Paul Cortez.
[NOTE: There are two frames from the same camera that picked up Catherine and David at 4:59pm that afternoon, respectively time stamped 6:34pm and 6:57pm. The video from which these stills were extracted would have all footage from at least 6:25pm – the time Goetz acknowledges that shows David leaving the building, through the 911 phone call and Paul’s inept attorneys never made any attempts to fight to obtain the full video in order to see whether David was shown or not shown, or any other potential suspects (such as the delivery guy noted by Brad Stewart) exiting the building. A year after Paul’s arrest, he wrote a letter to his attorneys asking what the status was of the video and why they were not attempting to obtain it, and he never received any response either way. Even representing him, they seemed to disregard any and all evidence that could help their own case.]