Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Fatal Attraction Murder Case

Day of Reckoning

On June 26, 1992, three and a half years after Betty Jeanne Solomon was murdered in her home, Carolyn Warmus appeared in White Plains County Court for sentencing. The courtroom was filled to capacity with the usual spectators and press people, eager to see the reaction from the unpredictable defendant. Court officers brought Warmus into the courtroom about 10 a.m. while the audience maintained a respectful silence. Gone were the stylish, designer pants, the pastel jackets and sexy, revealing outfits. She wore a loose-fitting University of Michigan sweater and blue jeans. Her soft blonde hair seemed messy and unwashed but her eyes were as wide and innocent as always. She walked directly to the defense table and sat down with her attorney William Aronwald. Her head bowed, her shoulders sagged and she slumped awkwardly into the seat.

Judge Carey said that he was unmoved by pleas for mercy from Aronwald. "No clearer case of malice aforethought than this can be imagined," Carey said. "No community that aspires to be bound by the rule of law can tolerate any such merciless slaughter." When it came time for Warmus to speak, she still proclaimed her innocence.

"I just spent time in jail for something I didn't do. It's very traumatic. I did not ever make a phone call to Ray's gun shop," she said in a soft voice. She had her hands clasped in front and as she spoke, Warmus kept her head down.

"I'm sorry, I can't hear you," said Judge Carey.

"I never made a phone call to Ray's Gun Shop...I never bought a gun or ever received a gun from Vincent Parco and I never bought a black pair of gloves from Filene's Basement. The most important thing of all, I did not kill Betty Jean Solomon. I had absolutely nothing to do with it," she said. Judge Carey shuffled papers on his desk and asked her to speak up once again.

"I'm standing here before you, Judge Carey, devastated about being sentenced for a crime I did not commit and I can only ask you for leniency because I am innocent," she said. Warmus wiped her eyes and tried to stand upright but she looked despondent and as lost as a little girl. "If I am guilty of anything at all, it was simply being foolish enough to believe the lies and promises that Paul Solomon made to me and allow myself to be manipulated by him!"

Judge Carey was unmoved. He called the murder "a hideous act, a most extreme, illegal and wanton murder." Warmus faced a minimum of 15 years to life. But Carey sentenced her to the maximum, 25 years to life. Warmus nearly collapsed. But some in the room were very satisfied. Betty Jean's sister was in the courtroom and told reporters: "To me, Carolyn Warmus is a very dangerous human being. There is no reason for what she did to my sister." Paul Solomon was not present at sentencing. Neither was Carolyn's father, or anyone else from the Warmus family.

An article appeared in the New York Times in August 2001, which stated that an appeal in her case may soon be filed. At issue for several years was the question of whether Carolyn Warmus was indigent and should the state bear the $60,000 cost for the trial transcript. She had no money and no assets. The court ruled in her favor and the 30,000-page document was provided to her lawyer. But as of January 2002, the Westchester County District Attorney's Office has received no notice of appeal. The former heiress, now convicted murderess, sits in the Bedford Prison for Women waiting for the year 2017 when she will be eligible for parole for the first time. Then, she will be 53 years old.
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