AN INTERVIEW WITH CAROLYN Q: Can you tell us a little bit more about yourself?
A: Sure. I love helping others. Prior to my arrest, I was a dedicated, hard-working teacher, and I believe teaching is a noble profession. I took great pride in my career; I feel that being a teacher is the most important job there is, and teaching meant the world to me. In addition to teaching, I did a lot of individual after-school tutoring, and I also volunteered with the homeless, even after my arrest. I also love all animals - especially cats!
Q: People who know you do not think you are capable of murder and believe that you are innocent of this crime. Carolyn, what can you say to people who don't know you to try to convince them to help support you in your quest to prove your innocence?
A: At this point, without having any DNA tests or direct evidence in this case, I have no way to currently prove my innocence to people - although I hope to in the near future. But until then, what I'd really like to say is that this case is really an issue of justice. Guilty people should be in prison, and innocent people should not be. There is a lot of new technology and forensic tests available now that were not available in 1992 when I was convicted. DNA tests can now be conducted using just a tiny bit of forensic evidence to prove a person's guilt or innocence. I am willing to have new forensic tests done that could either prove guilt or innocence - yet I am happy to do that since I know that I am innocent. I hope that anybody who believes in the values of truth and justice will agree that if scientific tests are now available to prove a person’s guilt or innocence, it is incumbent upon all of us as human beings to insure that justice prevails.
Q: Carolyn, why does your legal team need to raise money right now?
A: Knowing nothing about the criminal justice system, my family and I made bad choices and did not hire trial attorneys who had experience in murder cases. Over the past 14 years, my family and I have become indigent due to the legal expenses of two lengthy trials. However, over time, I have learned that attorneys actually specialize in different types of law, and I have now been fortunate enough to find experienced legal staff who actually believe in my innocence and are committed to using their expertise to help me in my quest for justice. But money is still desperately needed to do new investigating and new scientific testing, as well as to pay related court costs and legal fees needed to file these appeals. All donations received will go toward these expenses.
Ironically, it costs the government over $40,000 per year to house me here in Bedford Hills Correctional Facility, which means citizens have already spent over $500,000 of their hard-earned taxes to just house me here in prison, even though it will cost just a fraction of that to pay for new investigating and forensic testing to eliminate all doubt in my case. That seems much more sensible to me than having citizens spend another $500,000 to $600,000 to continue to house me here for the next 13 years or more rather than allowing me to prove my innocence and return to society as a productive citizen where I can again contribute to the community.
UPDATE 2011: The cost to tax paying New York citizens now exceeds $750,000 for housing Carolyn and is expected to cost no less than an additional $240,000 over the next 6 years!
Q: Why was your case dubbed the "Fatal Attraction" case?
A: I have no idea since there are really no similarities between the 1987 movie and this crime that occurred years later. In the movie, Michael Douglas and Annette Benning were a happily married couple - unlike Paul Solomon and his wife. In the movie, it appeared as if they had not had extra-marital affairs before - unlike both Paul and Betty Jeanne Solomon in real life. In the movie, Michael Douglas had a weekend fling with Glenn Close, whereas Paul Solomon and I had a public, long-term relationship for over 1 1/2 years together. Glenn Close became possessive of Michael Douglas, while I continued to date other men. In fact, not only did I continue to date other men while I dated Mr. Solomon, but also after the crime and even during the trials.
In the 1987 movie, Michael Douglas tried to break off the affair. In my situation, Paul Solomon continued to date me and have a public relationship with me; even on the day of the crime, he invited me out for a romantic evening. And a few months after the crime, Paul Solomon still drove down to my apartment in Manhattan and waited hours to surprise me with an intimate evening together. Ironically, in real life it was Paul Solomon who had the motive to kill his wife. It turns out that he was involved with another young elementary school teacher, and he also profited from the murder by selling his rights to a TV movie for $150,000 - but he couldn't sell the movie rights or keep the money unless someone else was actually convicted of the crime. Paul Solomon flaunted the money, buying an expensive sports car and other luxuries. Yet if I had just a fraction of that money, I could use it to prove my innocence.
Q: Carolyn, is it true that Paul Solomon was the prime suspect in the case for the first year after the murder?
A: Yes, that is correct. Then Mr. Solomon actually had his attorney negotiate a contract so that the lead detective in the case would also be paid $25,000 for the TV movie, and in exchange the detective turned the focus of the investigation onto me and away from Paul Solomon. After all, if Mr. Solomon had been convicted, then neither he nor the police detective could have legally profited by selling the story. Again, this is just one more example of the unbelievable police misconduct in this case. But until then, Paul Solomon was the sole suspect in the murder investigation.
Since I had never been a suspect after the murder, the police had never even bothered to verify my whereabouts on the day of the crime. If they had, many local shopkeepers and a parking attendant in my Manhattan neighborhood could have all verified my whereabouts for that day and evening, proving that I was not involved in the crime and could not have committed the crime. In fact, during the trial, I learned that a sports shop in New Jersey actually had a surveillance videotape of the real killer buying bullets in that store to supposedly use for the murder, and that videotape would have been exculpatory and again proven my innocence; but the police waited too long and didn't investigate this until nearly a year after the crime. By the time the police finally requested a copy of the videotape, it had already been routinely erased and re-used by the store since they did not realize the significance of it.
Unlike Paul Solomon, I did not know about the crime and therefore did not pre-arrange a public alibi for myself. When I was arrested 13 months after the crime, my local Manhattan neighbors and shopkeepers could no longer recall the exact times and locations of my activities on the specific day of the crime from 13 months earlier. If the police had interviewed them right after the crime, they could have all confirmed my innocence by accurately recalling my whereabouts that day - especially the parking lot attendant. But once again, this police incompetence made it impossible for me to prove my innocence.
Q: What else seems odd to you about this case, Carolyn?
A: I think it is highly suspicious that Paul Solomon always had a full beard for his entire adult life ... yet immediately after the crime, he suddenly and inexplicably shaved it off in order to intentionally and completely change his appearance.
I also think it's creepy that Paul Solomon moved right back into his apartment shortly after he discovered his wife's murder there and that he has still continued to live there all these years.
UPDATE 2011: Paul Solomon has apparently re-married and is still living in that same apartment.
Q: Carolyn, how have you been managing life here in prison?
A: Well, of course, it has not been easy. But I do my best. The things which keep me going are the knowledge of my innocence and my belief that one day the truth will be brought out in court. Through the help and contributions of concerned people, hopefully that day will come soon.