An often overlooked piece of evidence in the murder of Catherine Woods is the two dogs – one owned by Catherine & David, and the other being tended to by David, who had been “dogsitting” for friends.
According to David Haughn (David Haughn and other court testimony to verify), he got off work at 7am and sat in his car copying lyrics from a CD; he returned to the apartment about 7:45am.
He owned a little Chihuahua he called Josie. There was also a black Lab in the residence:
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 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 less than a week – that same week,
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, Casolaro 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 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.”
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 the2nd call to Catherine:
At 6:47ish, David encounters Brad Stewart outside the gate, where Brad tells him about the Lab. They go upstairs, finding the Lab in the hallway. David takes the Lab inside, where the Chihuahua is on the futon.
6:59pm 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.
If that call David made was clocked at 6:47pm, and he’d stopped at the light for 2 minutes, it’s 6:45pm. If we back it up 10 minutes for his duration around the block, it’s 6:35pm, and give him 5 minutes to leave the apartment, go downstairs, walk around the block to his car, he’d be walking out the door about 6:25 to 6:30pm which still puts him inside the apartment during the murder.
The problem, then, is that Andrew Gold explains the ruckus began just a few minutes into his call with his girlfriend, making the time about 6:28pm. The ruckus in its entirety lasted about 5-7 minutes, ending at 6:30-33pm.
Since Andrew Gold’s timeline is verified, it means David Haughn was still in the apartment while Paul Cortez was allegedly stabbing Catherine to death.
The other potential issue is that David acknowledges that when he went in that morning, the dogs barked at his arrival and he had to settle them down. That means the dog David owned barked when he walked in, and the dog he did not know that incredibly well also barked when he came in. He states later that when he opened the door to go see Brad after finding Catherine, that the Lab ran out and, according to David (and Brad), seemed frightened.
Andrew Gold reports only one dog barking, so this strongly suggests the Lab was not in the building at all during Catherine’s attack but had already been on First Ave, where Brad Stewart had apparently been trying to corral it. No time reference is given for how long all this took, just that he left at 6pm to go walk his dog.
We can allot 5 minutes to get from the second floor, down the stairs, out the building and down to the corner easily and reasonably. The time would be 6:05pm. He sees the dog and goes to collect it, brings it back to the building, takes it upstairs to the second floor. He did not state he put the dog inside the apartment. He says he took it upstairs. He then leaves the dog in the hallway, walks downstairs – the dog does not follow him – he goes out through 2 doors and a locking gate, and continues to walk his dogs.
Since we know the Lab was still in the hallway where Brad left it as of 6:50pm, then clearly Brad closed the door leading to the corridor so the Lab could not get free as it had so easily done when David opened the door – the dog made it down to the lobby. After Brad returned it, the dog was unable to get out. This means Brad had to have secured that front locking gate on his way out because David himself claims he had to open it for the EMTs and police arriving shortly after.
Regardless of how you interpret the timing above, David Haughn had to have been inside that apartment during the murder window. His own cell call places him on the street out front, Brad places him out front, he places himself out front – all verified as of 6:47pm. Given his time reference of 20 minutes or so, David Haughn was inside the apartment as of 6pm.
Brad did not see David leave shortly after 6pm if he was right there on First Ave chasing down the Lab and bringing it back to the building – he’d have easily seen David, the building is on the corner of 86th and First Ave. If Paul Cortez had been loitering outside the building, Brad would’ve seen him, David himself should’ve seen and recognized him – and would’ve certainly mentioned that fact to police. Andrew Gold could have seen Paul Cortez running out of the building as of 6:40pm, and both David and Brad could have seen Paul on foot coming outside the building and heading around the corner of First Ave. and none of them saw Paul Cortez.
There is no possible way, based on this timeline of events, that Paul Cortez could have even had the window of opportunity to get into the apartment without passing Brad Stewart or David Haughn, or being captured on nearby surveillance video down toward 2nd Ave. (the one that got David, Catherine and the dog) so it would mean the route Paul would have had to be taking was First Ave all the way to 95th…where David, Andrew or Brad were within minutes of one another in the specific “departure” window.
It is incredibly unlikely, he could not have gotten out of the apartment without being spotted. And if Brad locked the gate, then neither Paul nor anyone else would have been able to get in without being let in. The only other option is Paul could only already have been in the apartment – right there while David was in the apartment.
None of this happened instantaneously. The killer still needed a time window of getting to the 2nd floor from the gate out front, going up stairs, entering, seeking Catherine out, the confrontation itself. The killer did not just instantly appear at 6:25 and commit homicide. The killer was likely inside the apartment as of 6:20pm at the latest, but likely before.
The killer did not make the final blow and vanish into thin air. There would still be required a clean up period with the boots because no blood evidence was outside the bedroom doorway. The shoes came off or were wrapped. There would still be a period of clean up, even just loose blood off the hands, or to remove rubber gloves if any were worn. Then exiting the building and walking onto the busy front walk at dinner time, and on to First Ave. Then having to deal with the Lab at all would take a few minutes.
In sum, David had only recently started dog sitting. That was not his dog. He only started doing that just a few days before Catherine’s murder. Both dogs were inside – according to him, when he left, both dogs barked at his arrival – according to him, Brad sees the Lab free but not the Chihuahua, returns dog which does not get out again.
The Lab could not have opened the door on his own. Someone opened the door and let the dog out.
Someone took the dog downstairs, out the main door, out through the door to the courtyard, and opened that locking gate to the building itself and let the dog loose on the street. That was pure deliberation.
That means Catherine’s killer had to know before the event that there would be a black Lab inside that apartment that could pose a potential threat. That means Catherine’s killer had to have obtained this information in a very brief 3 day period of time, and know when Catherine was back from Ohio, was inside the apartment at all, and know that there even would be an opportunity to get inside and find her alone, and know that David would leave in that specific minimal window, and how long a time window that would even be.
the killer would have also had to get through the locking front gate without being buzzed in (if buzzed in, killer would likely show up on surveillance video) and without a key, get up to the second floor, open the apartment door and let the dog out without alerting Catherine in the process, or the little dog, take the Lab out to the street and come back upstairs and attack Catherine.
Or, the killer encountered the dog and had to eliminate it as a threat to entry and homicide. Instead of killing the dog, the killer takes the time to let it out of the apartment, take it down to the front gate and turn it loose. Then the killer goes back upstairs and commences his attack on Catherine, begging the question of what, exactly, Catherine was doing while her potential killer took the time to get rid of the Lab.
Somebody let that dog out on purpose.
They either let the dog out before they went back up and murdered Catherine, or the dog was already in the hallway and that was the barking going on, right in the middle of the attack – since according to Gold, the dog was barking incessantly while Catherine was screaming and the scuffle was going on, or both dogs were inside and the killer and the dog left at the same time.
Andrew Gold, however, did not see that black Lab when he was looking around, nor was the dog downstairs in the lobby or in view when he went to check it out, calling out, as of 6:45pm.
So where was it?
If Brad brought the Lab in before the attack and the Lab was in the hallway, then the killer would have no choice but to encounter the dog in the hallway before getting into the apartment, or the killer was already inside the apartment and the killer let the dog out when he walked in. The killer would have had to know there even was a Lab in the apartment. If the dog was barking at all, the killer would know that his risk level maxed out, and between the barking and the screaming, it would draw attention that could bust him the second he walks out of the apartment. Why did the killer not kill the barking dog?
Why were both dogs not injured?
The problem with the Lab being loose is that it seriously casts doubt upon David’s version of events, when put beside corroborated and verified facts themselves.
In addition, Paul’s cell records show that he placed the call to Catherine at 6:33pm, from the location of354 E 84th st. Let’s look where that is:
Catherine’s apartment was E 86th, two blocks away. One can argue all they like about cell towers picking up calls from that distance, if only one could determine there would only be one tower covering a much larger radius. As it happens, there are several Nextel cell towers all clearly carried by the service Paul used, and two on 86th at either end.
Had Paul been on 86th, his records would’ve shown it. Easily.
Paul’s cell records show that at 6:46pm, he called his voicemail and was connected 42 seconds.
At 6:50pm, Paul’s cell records show that he placed 2 calls from 339 E 95th St. both 44 seconds in duration.
This is 11 blocks from Starbucks on 84th st.
He did not take the bus, didn’t take the subway, didn’t take a cab, and he didn’t get a ride. His only mode of transport was on foot. Google maps estimates that about a 9 minute walk (12 if from 84th). The difference between those calls is 17 minutes. Paul Cortez left the area on foot, no ifs, ands, or buts.
Andrew Gold testified that he noted the time of the first scream from downstairs around 6:28pm. He testified that the duration of noise that he was able to hear – loud screaming, scuffling, dog barking, a thud, and then quiet – lasted about 5 minutes. Let’s do a bit of math, shall we? Catherine was attacked to the point of screaming at 6:28pm. Five minutes later, quiet. 6:28 plus 5 minutes…6:33pm. Gold hangs up, goes to investigate and calls out. He was out front by the gate as of 6:45pm and saw no one.
It seems implausible that Paul murdered Catherine and the instant she stopped screaming, the instant the dog stopped barking, Paul actually called her cell phone before the 60 second mark? Technically, given the cell records, that call was made at 6:33 and 45 seconds. The other potential issue is that the call was picked up from the tower at 84th st…Starbucks, and farther away than the tower on 86th street.
The tower that picked up that call on 84th st has network antennas all over the area. Had Paul been on 86th street when he made the 6:33pm call to her phone, it would’ve been picked up by an antenna on 1st and 86th, but further east. It is possible that the nearest tower was busy and the call bounced to a second tower, but that is yet another less than probable piece of evidence that is required to hold true to accept the prosecutor theory.
In short, for Paul to have been on 95th st making that call at 6:50pm, given the 9 minute trek, he would’ve had to have left Catherine’s apartment (had he actually been inside it) at 6:41pm, the exact moment Gold was investigating and then heading downstairs to leave – and he likely would have seen the killer, or David, Brad, and Andrew likely would have seen him.