The Last Dance
"We had rehearsal scheduled for 6 p.m. that night and Paul didn't show up," says guitarists and fellow band member Alex Rude.
Asked if that was normal, Alex said, "No, he normally showed up."
Catherine was killed sometime between 6:40 and 7 p.m. When Alex later called Paul around 8 p.m. that same night, Paul claimed he was sleeping. "He said he was at home," Alex recalls and says he sounded normal.
But Alex says Paul was acting very strange just days before the Catherine's murder — at a band performance, Paul appeared to be stoned. How could he tell?
"How could you not? Slurring, dilated eyes," says Alex. "And that final show we did, he called three of us, introducing us by completely wrong names."
Still, none of the band members can imagine Paul killing anyone.
"He's always been a very laid back person — very Zen like," says Alex.
What's more, the band members have doubts about some evidence they've read about. One is a diary found in Paul's apartment that reportedly contains incriminating passages about throat slashing.
"That diary, his journal is a red satin journal is where he wrote his lyrics. It's not a diary, it's where he wrote his lyrics," says Alex Rude. "Lyrics are fiction," says Iliyah.
"I know more about that journal than police," says Alex. He added that police hadn't talked to any of the band members.
But was Paul really where he said he was when Catherine was killed? In his statement to police, again, Paul says he was home, making phone calls. His apartment is a mile and half from Catherine's.
But a police source says cell phone records tell a different story — Paul called Catherine several times that night. If Paul was home, those calls would normally go through a cell tower in his neighborhood, but according to a police source, some of his calls were handled by a tower just two blocks from Catherine's apartment, putting him in the vicinity of the crime.
While Paul may not have a solid alibi for the time of Catherine's murder, many people saw him or talked to him an hour later.
"When I spoke to him at 8 o'clock, I remember him being just grounded and peaceful," says Jaki Levy.
"When you think back at the conversation, did it sound like a man who had just killed someone the hour before?" Moriarty asks.
"No, absolutely not," he replies.
Asked if Paul could be a good actor, Jaki said: "I wish I could say that about him but I don't think he's that good. I don't think anybody is that good of an actor to be able to go from a murder, a grisly murder of someone you love, and then just be blasť to your friends?"
The most damaging evidence against Paul may be that one bloody fingerprint found in Catherine Wood's apartment that police sources say matches Paul's.
Paul Cortez' attorney, Laura Miranda, has her doubts and says they need to hire experts to look at the fingerprint print. And she wonders why there appears to be so little physical evidence linking Paul to Catherine's death.
"You would think something that brutal and bloody, there would be more evidence," says Miranda. "It's uncanny how professional a job it seems to have been. Unfortunately, there are many people out there, especially in the work she was doing, that might have stalked her and been obsessed with her."
At trial, Paul Cortez' lawyer is likely to point the finger at others, including David Haughn, who found Catherine's body and was a suspect himself early in the investigation until police verified his alibi.
Ivette Cortez is hoping her son will be vindicated and freed.
The ordeal has been very tough on Catherine's parents, who are steeling themselves for Paul Cortez' trial. Even if his defense raises questions about their daughter and her lifestyle, Jon and Donna say they no longer have any questions at all.
"I feel in my heart that my daughter was a wonderful woman. And no matter what the defense might say in terms of these allegations, I can sit here and, in my heart know, I don't believe this," he says. "That she was a wonderful person. And I feel she's with the angels."
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