Thursday, November 5, 2015

Michigan man sentenced in 1991 cold case murder

Alfred Woods, 53, of Westland, Michigan, was sentenced today to state prison for the 1991 cold case murder of 22-year-old Horace Shaw at the Rimrock apartment complex in Highland.

San Bernardino Superior Court Judge Harold Wilson sentenced Woods to 30 years to life in state prison. After deliberating for just over 30 minutes, a jury found Woods—also known as “Julian Cane” and “Houdini”—guilty of murder on Sept. 28.

“One witness, a 14-year-old boy who had been living with Woods at the time, saw the victim flip the defendant’s hat off his head and call it a ‘woman’s hat,’” said Deputy District Attorney Denise Yoakum, who prosecuted the case.

According to the witness, the defendant then retrieved a shotgun from his apartment. He then loaded the weapon and walked back outside. Although the witness didn’t see the actual shooting, he heard shots fired just outside the closed door.

At the time of the murder, other witnesses saw an individual known as “Julian Cane” running from the scene with a shotgun.

“Cane” eventually fled the state. In 2012, investigators with the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Cold Case Unit developed information that led them to believe “Julian Cane” was actually Alfred Woods and he was living in Michigan.

“Along with the senseless murder of Mr. Shaw there are so many other sad parts to this story,” said Yoakum. “The 14-year-old witness who had been living with the defendant had done so because he had no parents to take care of him. After the defendant fled to another state, the young boy continued to live in the apartment by himself until CPS found him and placed him into foster care.”

According to Yoakum, one day prior to the guilty verdict being read, the victim’s mother also passed away.

“While she wasn’t there to hear the verdict the next day, justice still had been served for her son’s killer,” said Yoakum.

Prior to sentencing, Deputy District Attorney Yoakum read impact statements on behalf of those family members who lived out of state and were unable to attend:

Excerpted from Thomaso Watson (Horace Shaw’s brother):

“While [Alfred Woods] was on the run living his life, when his only problem was getting brought to justice, my mom and our family suffered our loss and thought this day would never come. Now that the day has come, it’s bittersweet to now have lost my mom as well. I can only say my mom and brother are together again. To me a life sentence is too good for a coward who shoots a 22-year-old in the back 5 times, then goes on the run, as if my brother’s life didn't matter.”

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