||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (June 2008)|
January 8, 1964 |
|Occupation||Former elementary school teacher|
|Criminal charge||Second degree murder|
|Criminal penalty||25 years to life in prison|
Carolyn Warmus (born January 8, 1964) is serving a 25-year-to-life sentence for the murder of her lover's wife. The murder case attracted national attention and led to comparisons with the movie Fatal Attraction.
Carolyn Warmus was born in Troy, Michigan and grew up in Birmingham, Michigan, an affluent suburb of Detroit. Her father Tom was a self-made millionaire who accumulated his fortune in the insurance business. Her parents divorced when she was 8-years-old. She attended the University of Michigan, where she drifted into a series of unsuccessful romantic relationships. There was an element of obsessive behavior in her dealings with men. Warmus had a history of stalking boyfriends and hiring private detectives to determine their whereabouts. One of her former boyfriends, Paul Laven, obtained a restraining order against her after Warmus waged a relentless campaign to win him back. She called him and his fiancee and left messages on their answering machine, contacted their friends, and deluged them with notes, including one that falsely claimed Warmus was pregnant with Laven's child. After graduating with a degree in psychology, Warmus moved to New York City. She hired a private detective, Vincent Parco, to trail a married New Jersey bartender when he lost interest in her. Soon after, she earned a master's degree in elementary education from Teachers College, Columbia University and landed a job in September 1987 at the Greenville Elementary in Scarsdale, New York. Here she met colleague, mentor, and soon-to-be lover Paul Solomon, a fifth grade teacher, and his family, wife Betty Jeanne and daughter Kristan. Carolyn became a role model and big sister to Kristan and she would buy her expensive gifts.
Crime and investigation
Early in the evening of January 15, 1989, a New York Telephone operator received a call from a woman in distress. When the call was abruptly disconnected, she alerted police, but they found nothing because the reverse directory had an incorrect address. At 11:42pm, the body of Betty Jeanne Solomon was found in the family's Greenburgh condominium by her husband. She had been pistol-whipped about the head and had nine bullet wounds in her back and legs. The investigation initially focused on Paul Solomon, whose alibi was he had stopped briefly at a local bowling alley to see friends and then had spent the evening with Warmus at the Treetops Lounge in the Holiday Inn in Yonkers. When Warmus and additional witnesses confirmed his story, detectives turned their attention elsewhere, as did Solomon, who broke off his relationship with Warmus and became involved with a new girlfriend, Barbara Ballor. Police suspicions shifted to Warmus when she began to relentlessly pursue Solomon, including following him and Ballor to Puerto Rico and calling the woman's family in an effort to end the relationship. When they gained information that Warmus had obtained a .25 caliber Beretta pistol with a silencer from Vincent Parco shortly before the murder, Detective Richard Constantino checked calls made from Warmus' home phone on January 15. He discovered one made at 3:02pm was to Ray’s Sport Shop in North Plainfield, New Jersey. The store's records indicated the only female to purchase .25-caliber ammunition that day was Liisa Kattai from Long Island. When questioned, Kattai denied ever being in the shop or buying ammunition. Further investigation determined that Kattai's driver's license had been lost or stolen while she was employed at a summer job, where one of her co-workers was Warmus. Police now had enough evidence to make an arrest.
Trial and conviction
Warmus was indicted on the charge of second-degree murder on February 2, 1990. Carolyn made her $250,000 bail and her father paid for her bond. Carolyn's trial was held at the Westchester County Courthouse and David Lewis was her attorney. The trial dragged on as piece after piece of testimony, evidence, and speculation were closely scrutinized by the jury. Twelve days after the prosecutor and defense gave their closing statements, the jury announced they were hopelessly deadlocked at 8-4 in favor of conviction and unable to arrive at a unanimous verdict. The judge was forced to declare a mistrial on April 27, 1991. In January 1992, a second trial began. The new jury was able to gain better insight into who could have committed the murder with the introduction of a new piece of evidence . A bloody cashmere glove belonging to Warmus that had been spotted in a photograph of the brutal crime scene was recovered, and this would decide her fate. At the end of this trial, the jury took six days to decide Warmus was guilty on May 26, 1992. Judge John Carey did not grant Warmus any leniency, saying she had committed "a hideous act, a most extreme, illegal and wanton murder." Warmus faced a minimum of 15 years, but Judge Carey sentenced her to the maximum, 25 years to life in prison.
The former heiress now sits behind bars at the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility for Women. She is eligible for parole in 2017. If she had been given the minimum sentence of 15 years in prison, she would have been paroled in 2007.
In 2004, Warmus and inmate Pamela Smart filed separate lawsuits claiming to have been sexually abused by prison guards. Warmus stated that when she tried to complain about the abuse she was punished in protective custody, as well as being made to trade sexual favors for ordinary privileges. Pamela Smart claims she was attacked by a guard who took photos of her half-naked in her cell at Bedford Hills. Smart stated that when she complained about the rape she was placed in around-the-clock lockdown for 70 days. Prison officials said Smart was put into protective custody to safeguard her after the photos were published by the National Enquirer and she complained about the assault.
Warmus received a $10,000 settlement from the Department of Correctional Services, for her claims that she was sexually abused and deprived of rights at Bedford Hills Correctional Facility. She claimed that she was forced to have sex with the corrections officers if she wanted time out of her cell.
In popular culture
Two television movies about the case aired in the latter part of 1992. The Danger of Love: The Carolyn Warmus Story  starred Jenny Robertson as Warmus and Joe Penny as the Paul Solomon character, rechristened Michael Carlin because Solomon refused to allow the use of his name. He did cooperate with the makers of A Murderous Affair: The Carolyn Warmus Story, which starred Virginia Madsen as Warmus and Chris Sarandon as Solomon. In 2004, Warmus was profiled on the Oxygen Network television series Snapped, which focuses on female criminals. In 2008, Warmus was featured on the Investigation Discovery (ID) program Deadly Women in the episode Hearts of Darkness. In addition, the murder, investigation and trial was shown on another ID series, entitled Cold Blood, in the episode Femme Fatale, also in 2008.
- "Tarlton Law Library at the University of Texas School of Law". Tarlton.law.utexas.edu. Retrieved 2012-01-26.
- "Notorious Murders at". Crimelibrary.com. 1992-06-26. Retrieved 2012-01-26.
- "Bedford Inmates Allege Sexual Abuse". Lawcore.com. Retrieved 2012-01-26.
- "Carolyn Warmus, "Fatal Attraction" Killer, Receives $10K from Govt". Groundreport.com. 2008-08-15. Retrieved 2012-01-26.
- The Danger of Love: The Carolyn Warmus Story at the Internet Movie Database
- "''A Murderous Affair: The Carolyn Warmus Story'' at". Tv.msn.com. Retrieved 2012-01-26.