Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The True Story of John Raymond "Woody" Woodring

Slow Learner

In July of 2005, several of Bonnie's family members came for a visit. For reasons that remain unclear, Woodring assaulted a male family member by choking him and then head-butted a female family member. The Sylva Police Department was called to the scene, but the incident never resulted in an arrest.

John "Woody" Woodring
John "Woody" Woodring

While Bonnie worked as a nurse at a local hospital, Woodring decided to enroll in college classes at Western Carolina University to earn a master's degree in counseling. He told Bonnie he planned on starting his own business after he graduated and that they could run it together. Shortly after enrolling, he began working part-time as a graduate teaching assistant at WCU.

Sylvia Police Department
Sylvia Police Department

Woodring maintained several Internet websites in his spare time. On his main website,, the entry page was titled: "Integrity Means Success. Welcome to my personal website!" Text taken from the website read in part:

"I appreciate you stopping by! I have been really lucky in life to be where I am today! I used to think that life wasn't fair to me, but I realize now that life is what you make it. Life doesn't meet anyone half way and I can attest to that! Life gives us what we need! Not always what we want, but what we need!

"I have went back and forth on this site trying to decide to what to write and what to put up here and I still don't know. I enjoy looking back at where I have been and then looking forward to see where I want to end up. I have been lucky in life. I'm not dead, or in prison. I sure had a ticket to both of those places. I still make mistakes but today I am a better person.

"I have people who respect me and who would help me at the drop of a hat. I have a wonderful wife, and children who put up with my nonsense. I don't let things get to me like they used to and I owe that to my self-growth. I look back at all of the wrong that I have done and each time I learned a valuable lesson. However, I was a very slow learner! VERY SLOW.

"My wife Bonnie taught me something that I live by and that I take very seriously. Life is really short and we just shouldn't take things for granted. Each day I still wish I had a mom and a dad with and sisters and brothers but those dream can never come true and I accept that. I am lucky and thankful to have what I do have!

 "Through my eyes I have seen some wonderful things and I have felt some great feelings. I have seen a sunset in Hawaii, and I have felt my heart flutter as I watched the flag blow at Pearl Harbor. I have felt the love that my wife has for me, standing under a waterfall committing myself forever. Although things will never be perfect, I know I am a good person despite what others may decide to say."

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