Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Fatal Attraction Murder Case

Trail Part Two

The following year, in January 1992, a second trial opened in the same White Plains courthouse. The prosecution had repaired the damage from the first trial and tightened up the loose ends. McCarty had presented evidence to a grand jury concerning the phone bill that the defense offered into evidence during the first trial. On December 4, 1991, Carolyn was indicted for forgery and tampering with physical evidence.

For the second trial, all the principal players were the same: Paul Solomon, Vincent Parco, Liisa Kattai, Det. Richard Constantino, Judge John Carey and A.D.A. James A. McCarty. There was only one significant change. David Lewis apparently had enough of Carolyn Warmus. He left the defense team and a new lawyer was hired: William Aronwald, a former federal prosecutor and well known in White Plains courts. Meanwhile, David Lewis filed a civil law suit against Tom Warmus for non-payment of his legal fees for defending his daughter.

Interest in the case had not diminished. The second trial received the same fervent media attention. It was also announced that two made-for-TV-movies were in the making and awaiting the outcome of the trial so that a proper ending could be added. Much was made of Paul Solomon selling his rights to the story while legal proceedings against his wife's alleged killer were still ongoing. And he still lived in the same apartment where the murder occurred three years before. Every day of his life, he walked over the spot where Betty Jeanne died, a fact that did not escape the attention of many people associated with the case.

When testimony began, Carolyn sat at the defense table bringing a pillow to each day's proceedings so she could put her head down on the table and rest during tedious hours. At times, reporters noticed that she appeared distant and maintained a far-away stare. There were no more designer clothes and confident airs. Instead, there was an ominous feeling that things were not going quite so well for Carolyn Warmus. After the familiar faces testified, Solomon, Kattai, Constantino, Parco, Peters and others, the case went to the jury on May 21, 1992.

After six days of deliberations and numerous requests for witness transcripts, reviews of evidence and legal clarifications, the jury reached a verdict. Judge Carey called the proceedings to order once again and the room became dead quiet.

"Will you please bring in the jury?" he said. The jury paraded in and took their seats.

"Have you reached a verdict?" Judge Carey asked.

"We have your honor," said the forewoman. And after a moment's pause, during which Carolyn's life must have surely flashed before her eyes, the verdict was announced.

"Guilty!"

Carolyn remained standing and looked straight ahead. She made no outward sign that she even heard the verdict. Newsday said "Some in the crowded courtroom gasped with the reading of the verdict, but Warmus betrayed no emotion." She was immediately handcuffed at the defense table.

"You are remanded into custody pending your sentencing," Judge Carey said. Warmus was led out of the courtroom and taken to the county jail. A few minutes later, Paul Solomon told the press: "What has been lost in this trial is that someone took Betty Jeanne's life. The right person was punished, but that doesn't bring Betty Jeanne back." McCarty said he was satisfied with the verdict and glad it was over. Det. Constantino, who worked the case from day one was also content.

"To tell you the truth," Constantino said recently, "I was elated that it was over. Relieved. This case made my life miserable for three years. Steady nights. Overtime every week. It really wore down on me."
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