‘On the Case With Paula Zahn’ from Investigation Discovery is a true-crime documentary-style series hosted by the veteran journalist Paula Zahn. The series follows Zahn as she travels across the country to reiterate the most grueling tales of crime that have had tragic aftermaths on people related to the victims of these crimes. One episode of the series highlights the brutal murder of Susan Woods. The baffling case, which was unsolved for approximately 20 years, was finally solved after a shocking revelation.
Susan Woods was found dead by her father in her bathtub at her Stephenville, Texas home. The police had initially suspected Susan’s former husband, Michael Woods. However, after 20 years of being under consistent suspicion, Michael was found to be innocent when scientific evidence alienated him from being involved in Susan’s murder. If you are curious to know what happened to Michael Woods, we might have the answers.
Who Is Michael Woods?
Michael Woods had been married to Susan Woods for about five-and-a-half years when the couple started having differences in opinions about the location they wanted to call home. While Susan wanted to live in Stephenville, Michael wanted to move away. Michael said he felt like an outsider within the small town, mostly because of his lifestyle which consisted of his long hairstyle, his motorbike, his habit of playing the guitar, and his vocational roles in odd jobs. When Susan eventually made up her mind to split from Michael and filed for a divorce, Michael shifted from Stephenville to Indianapolis to help his brother build a house.
The couple had not yet completed their divorce officiation when the Indianapolis police came knocking at his door. They told him they wanted to discuss some parking issues with him and took him on a drive around the neighborhood for an hour. Within that hour, the police informed Michael about Susan’s death and informed him that it was a homicide. Michael admitted to having been so stunned with the news that he had to throw up. Woods was harrowed for years by the police and the investigators who were in charge of the case. They would bring Woods in for numerous charges and gradually turn the interrogation into that about his former wife’s murder, hoping to draw a confession from him. Their efforts to implicate Michael ended when the cold case was revived and the DNA and the fingerprint evidence led the police to Joseph Scott Hatley. Hatley was then arrested and convicted for Susan Woods’s murder.
Where Is Michael Woods Now?
Michael Woods was cleared of suspicion in his former wife, Susan Wood’s death when in 2006 the police arrested Joseph Scott Hatley. Hatley was tracked down after DNA from the victim’s body was linked to him. At the time of her death, Susan was going through a divorce with Michael, hence the police immediately zeroed in on him. Moreover, he had also left a cassette with Susan, which, according to Susan’s best friend Cindy Hayes, contained a recording of Michael cussing at Susan and her family and friends. Moreover, accounts from close friends mention that Michael and Susan had had a bitter argument just a while before Susan’s death and she had reportedly confided in her friends that she was scared of her former husband, that he might harm her. Besides, it was later revealed that Susan also had life insurance which could have been a possible motive for Michael to take his former wife’s life. Michael is now remarried and is currently living out of state and his actual whereabouts is unknown.
Where is Joseph Scott Hatley Now?
Hatley was sentenced to 30 years in prison in 2007 after he confessed to murdering Susan Jeanette Woods one week before his trial was set to begin. In a setback to the victim’s family, in Aug 2018, after spending 11 years in jail, Joseph Scott Hatley, at the age of 52, was set free from the Huntsville prison. The alleged reason for his release was the overcrowding of the prison. According to reports, Joseph Scott Hatley is currently residing in some halfway house in Midland.