Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Fatal Attraction Murder Case


The New York tabloids had a field day with the story. They called Carolyn Warmus a "Sex Tigress", "A Woman Obsessed", "Black Widow" and numerous other titles that underlined the sexual side of the case. They pursued every lead in the story no matter how small and the nightly news reported on legal developments by the hour. Everywhere in the media, people were talking about the "Fatal Attraction" murder case in Westchester. Newsday said: "It's beginning to read like a script for "Twin Peaks"...With Warmus' indictment in January, the curtains were pulled back on Westchester's posh bedroom communities, revealing the sordid drama that cinema is made of." The Toronto Star said: "Carolyn Warmus, at times so demure, so alluring, was every bit as obsessive and lethal as her fictional counterpart. The real life case is even harder to believe than the fiction!" The case became even more sensationalized when it was rumored that Paul Solomon had sold story rights to HBO for an undisclosed sum of money. Ultimately there would be not one, but two movies made about the case.

In January 1990, a Westchester County grand jury heard testimony and reviewed evidence in the Betty Jeanne Solomon murder case. On February 2, Carolyn Warmus was indicted for second-degree murder and a warrant for her arrest was issued. A few days later, she surrendered in White Plains Court where Westchester County D.A.'s investigators took her into custody. At arraignment, Warmus was ordered held on $250,000 bail and sent to the county jail for processing.

The media came out in droves for the trial. The major networks and cable TV reporters gathered daily in the lobby of the Westchester County Court building to do their interviews and news videos. "It was horrendous!" Constantino said recently. "Every day, I walked into the lobby into hordes of reporters. They would try to pump me over and over for information." As witnesses walked through the first-floor checkpoint and prepared to board the elevators, reporters descended upon them with a barrage of questions. Photographs of the defendant were especially at a premium.

Carolyn Warmus, sketch
Carolyn Warmus, sketch

Early in the trial Carolyn appeared in a short, very tight, very sexy miniskirt that had photographers snapping away and film crews tripping over each other to get a better view. A photo of Carolyn, wearing a short skirt, which exposed her nicely formed legs, appeared in the nation's newspapers and news magazines over the next few months. Always dressed to perfection in designer clothes, Carolyn paraded each day into the courthouse more like a model on a runway than a murder defendant. With her blonde hair, confident style and voluptuous body, she was a "femme fatale" right out of 1940s film noir, a woman who broke all the rules. She was a symbol of a love gone wrong, an affair that spiraled out of control until it ended in murder and betrayal. She was the rich, spoiled heiress on trial for her life who wanted a man so much, she was willing to kill to have him all for herself.

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