On January 15th, 1989, the life of Ms. Betty Jeanne Solomon ended in a tragic homicide. A second crime was committed when, despite a lack of evidence, Carolyn Warmus, a young schoolteacher, was convicted of this horrible murder. Carolyn Warmus is serving 25 years to life in a New York state prison for a murder she did not commit and about which she had no knowledge. (The first indictment was dismissed due to prosecutorial misconduct; the second indictment led to a five-month trial which ended in a hung jury after twelve days of deliberations; the next five-month trial ended in her wrongful conviction.) Under New York law, she must serve the entire 25 years before she is even considered for parole. Prison is a horrible place for a guilty person to live; it is absolutely unbearable when a person, such as Carolyn, is innocent. Carolyn was born and raised in a small suburb 40 miles from Detroit, Michigan. After graduating high school with honors in 1981, she received her Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Michigan. She moved to New York City to attend Columbia University, where she received her Master’s degree in a number of specialized educational fields in 1987. While she spent the next
three years teaching in public elementary schools in Westchester County, New York, she also continued to pursue her Ed.D. (Doctorate of Education) at Columbia University’s Teachers’ College.
Carolyn met Paul Solomon in the fall of 1987 after she was selected out of hundreds of applicants to teach at the Edgemont School District in Scarsdale, New York. He was already an elementary school teacher there. But it wasn’t until 1½ years later when she was teaching at another prestigious Westchester County elementary school that Betty Jeanne Solomon was murdered on January 15, 1989. And it wasn’t until 13 months after the crime that Carolyn was arrested in February, 1990. By then she was more than halfway through her Doctorate in Educational Administration. But that obviously did nothing to help prepare her for what she would soon encounter with the Westchester County “justice" system. No one Carolyn knew had ever had any experience with our legal system, let alone ever needed a criminal attorney.
The police and district attorney’s office disseminated half-truths and misinformation about Carolyn to the media, turning public opinion against her in the conservative community of Westchester County. The police and D.A. knew they had no direct evidence against Carolyn to present in court, so they decided to try her case in the media instead. Although the trial judge did impose sanctions against the prosecution for their improprieties, the negative public opinion and damage caused by the prosecution’s misconduct was irreparable. Nevertheless, even though the media painted a picture of “guilt”, the actual facts create a different picture.
Carolyn was only 23 years old when she first met Paul Solomon in the fall of 1987. He was a teacher, too, and she thought he was divorced. He didn’t wear a wedding band, which married men seemed to always wear in Michigan, where Carolyn had lived her whole life. Carolyn also knew that Paul Solomon had previously dated other women, even some of the other elementary teachers. And he had told Carolyn that Betty Jeanne Solomon also dated other men, again giving Carolyn the impression that they were divorced. Paul Solomon began his advances toward Carolyn while he was her teaching mentor, since this was Carolyn’s first full-time job. She was only 23 and still in graduate school, while he was 42. He wined and dined her and ultimately led her to believe that he was in love with her.
When Carolyn later realized that Paul and Betty Jeanne were still married, she made a mistake and foolishly continued to date him because he convinced her that he and Betty Jeanne had an open marriage since they both dated other people, they both took separate vacations, and it was a marriage in name only – just until their daughter finished high school. However, Carolyn still continued to date other men in New York, as well.
Unbeknownst to Carolyn, two days before the crime Paul Solomon sent his daughter away for a weekend of skiing, even though she had only skied once before. (This later seemed to indicate that he planned to kill Betty Jeanne and therefore wanted her to be home alone.) Then on the morning of the murder, Paul Solomon asked Carolyn to meet him at 7:30pm for a romantic evening at a local restaurant.
However, as Carolyn later discovered at the trial, Paul Solomon had done a lot of odd things on the day of the murder. He had hooked up his own car to a battery charger (thereby disabling it) and drove Betty Jeanne’s car that evening, leaving her stuck in their apartment without any transportation. He then inexplicably went to a local bowling alley at about 6:00pm and saw people there who could recognize him. He did not go there to bowl, so it was as if he planned in advance to try to provide himself with a public alibi for his whereabouts, prior to meeting Carolyn at a Westchester County restaurant at 7:30pm. He and Carolyn remained at the restaurant until 11:00pm when Carolyn then drove back to her apartment in Manhattan. When Paul Solomon returned home to his apartment, he claims he found his wife lying dead on the living room floor.
The reaction of those who are told the truth - that Carolyn Warmus was convicted of the murder of Betty Jeanne Solomon WITHOUT A SINGLE SHRED of forensic evidence or a single word of eyewitness testimony - is shock. This lack of evidence is one of the most surprising but best-kept secrets of the case history. It is time that this fact is known by the public; this is the first step to developing an accurate and honest awareness of this and other areas of the case.
In the case of Carolyn Warmus, many of the facts concerning the gathering, handling, preservation, treatment, and current location of forensic and physical evidence are disturbing. Some of the biggest questions in the case involve how some key evidence was overlooked and other evidence was mishandled, and even tampered with.
THE CRIME SCENE
The murder of Ms. Betty Jeanne Solomon was reported to the police just before midnight on January 15, 1989, by Mr. Paul Solomon, the husband of the victim. But first he gave the police the wrong address, delaying their arrival. When the authorities arrived, they found her body lying on the floor of the living room of the couple’s co-op apartment. Ms. Solomon had been shot nine times. (Paul Solomon had military training and an expertise with guns, while testimony revealed that Carolyn had no familiarity with guns.) Spent shell casings were scattered about the scene and a telephone - its cord removed from the jack - lay upturned on the floor. Close to the couch, and a couple of feet from the victim’s head, was a single dark colored glove.
LACK OF EVIDENCE
Throughout the apartment, law enforcement personnel and professional forensic investigators found absolutely no evidence which could in any way be linked in a court of law to Carolyn Warmus. NONE.
This, in itself, is startling, since the killer would have left some sign of being there. Indeed, there were unidentified fingerprints found at the scene, but these fingerprints were proven with absolute certainty not to be those of Carolyn Warmus. In fact, there were no fingerprints, hair fibers, nor blood of Carolyn’s at the crime scene (which makes sense since Carolyn was not the killer).
In addition to this lack of evidence, there is no person who has ever placed Carolyn Warmus inside or outside of the scene of the crime on that day: no one has ever stated, testified, or suggested anything to the effect of having seen her at any time in any place within Greenburgh Township on the day in which this terrible crime was committed.
Not only did Paul Solomon arrive home that night and give the police the wrong address to his apartment, but when the police finally arrived, he lied about his whereabouts that night. Unlike a grieving widower who might be in shock, Paul Solomon had the presence of mind to give a false alibi to the police and hinder their investigation.
The investigation was further compromised in the following ways:
1. The glove found at the crime scene beside the victim’s body was immediately tested by the prosecution’s forensic expert in 1989 and was found to have no blood on it. So, how did a glove mysteriously appear in 1992 with fresh blood on it, and why was the jury told that this was the glove from the crime scene? Did the prosecution tamper with this evidence and plant blood on it in a desperate attempt to wrongfully convict Carolyn? Please contribute to The Justice Fund for Carolyn Warmus so the truth can be discovered. 2.In a shocking breach of professional investigatory procedure, Mr. Paul Solomon, the husband of the victim and the prime suspect, was permitted, by an investigator at the scene of the crime, to wipe and wash his hands of the blood which covered them when the police arrived. Under oath on the witness stand at trial, the police investigator admitted that the impropriety of this error could have, in and of itself, obscured or completely destroyed crucial physical forensic evidence on Mr. Solomon which could have proven him guilty of his wife’s murder. 3.Mr. Solomon was given a paraffin test to determine whether gunshot residue from the firing of a handgun was present on his hands. The results came back “inconclusive”, meaning that it was certainly possible that he had fired a gun earlier that day or evening. After these results were revealed, and after he had been caught in lies about his whereabouts that evening, Mr. Solomon refused to talk with police and requested his attorney. 4.During the week following the murder, in a decision which further deepened the question of the integrity of the crime scene, several individuals - friends and relatives of the victim - were permitted to enter the “sealed” crime scene, to move articles about, and to search for items and objects while forensic investigation was still underway!
A POWERFUL STATEMENT OF TRUTH
But, in this same week - during which Mr. Solomon became less and less forthcoming with the police and during which the crime scene was being visited by people completely uninvolved with the official business of investigation - Carolyn Warmus was cooperating fully and completely with the police, and did so willingly without even the presence of an attorney. “Since I was innocent,” she said, “I felt I had nothing to worry about and was willing to cooperate with the police investigation.” She also gave a formal statement concerning anything she might know about Paul Solomon and any events near the time of the crime in order to help the police.
Before the end of that first week following the murder, Carolyn Warmus voluntarily agreed to take a series of four polygraph (lie detector) examinations. In them, she was asked in specific terms and by an expert polygraphist, what knowledge, if any, she had of the crime. She repeated what she had already told the police - that she was innocent - and her results were found to be completely exculpatory, indicating 100% truthfulness in response to the questions asked during the testing. She passed all four exams, which confirmed that she had absolutely no knowledge of, nor involvement in, the crime, whatsoever.
READ THE POLYGRAPH RESULTS, ACCESSIBLE THROUGH THE LINK PROVIDED TO THE RIGHT