TX - In a swift and resounding verdict, Zachary Alexander Woods, 29, of Canyon Lake, TX, has been sentenced to life in prison for Aggravated Kidnapping, following a four-day trial that gripped the community. The trial concluded on July 14, 2023, as a Comal County jury deliberated for less than 20 minutes before delivering the guilty verdict. Judge Dan Mills presided over the trial, ensuring justice was served for the horrific crimes committed by Woods.
The chilling case came to light on March 29, 2022, when Comal County Sheriff Officers responded to a frantic 911 call from a concerned neighbor. The caller reported a severely beaten and bruised 19-year-old female knocking on her door, seeking help. Arriving at the scene, officers were stunned by the extent of the victim's injuries and the shocking ordeal she had endured.
Throughout the trial, jurors heard heart-wrenching testimonies from numerous witnesses presented by the State, including the 911 caller, Canyon Lake EMS personnel, medical staff from Ascension Seton-Hays, law enforcement officials, and the victim herself. The harrowing details of Woods' actions were laid bare, revealing a pattern of abuse and violence that escalated to an unimaginable level.
The victim testified that her nightmare began when she met Woods on December 10, 2021, and they moved in together shortly thereafter. Within months, Woods had subjected her to a series of violent assaults, broken her belongings, and threatened to take her child away. The situation deteriorated rapidly, culminating in a week of captivity in Woods' home.
During that fateful week, Woods relentlessly interrogated the victim, accusing her of infidelity and concocting false accusations against him. His responses to her answers were brutal and unforgiving, marked by physical violence that escalated from punches to the use of weapons like bats, belts, and even a knife. The victim endured a barrage of attacks, including waterboarding, burns, and beatings that left her with devastating injuries.
Medical professionals testified about the extensive injuries the victim suffered, including a Grade 3 spleen laceration, broken bones, fractures, and numerous wounds. The horror of the situation was further compounded by the revelation that Woods had recorded over twenty audio recordings of the repeated beatings on his cellphone.
As the trial progressed, the State highlighted Woods' extensive criminal history, which included multiple prior felony convictions for Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon. His violent tendencies were made clear by incidents both inside and outside of prison, including assaults on a corrections officer and fellow inmates.
During closing arguments, Assistant District Attorney Lauren Cole emphasized the nightmare the victim had endured and called for a life sentence for Woods. District Attorney Jennifer Tharp echoed this sentiment, urging the jury to consider the potential future victims that might be spared through a decisive sentence.
The successful prosecution of the case was a collaborative effort, with District Attorney Jennifer Tharp, Assistant District Attorney Lauren Cole, and a dedicated team of professionals working tirelessly to ensure justice was served. Their efforts were bolstered by the support of Victim Assistance Coordinator Angela Rivera, Investigator Haskell Ivey, Legal Assistant Sarah Henrie, and a host of support staff.
In a final address, District Attorney Jennifer Tharp extended appreciation to law enforcement, first responders, medical professionals, and the vigilant neighbor whose 911 call set the wheels of justice in motion. The victim, whose remarkable bravery throughout the ordeal was acknowledged, was praised for her strength and resilience.
The trial's conclusion served as a stark reminder that domestic violence remains a pervasive issue, and victims are urged to seek help and support. If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, remember that you are not alone, and there are individuals and resources available to assist you.