An extramarital affair was followed by a fatal obsession, leading to the murder of Betty Jeanne Solomon in January 1989. This case and its story garnered national media attention and comparisons to ‘Fatal Attraction,’ the 1987 erotic thriller movie. Investigation Discovery’s ‘Scorned: Fatal Fury: An Education in Murder’ chronicles the inquiry into Betty’s death and how the woman her husband was having an affair with was convicted for it. So, let’s find out what happened then, shall we?
How Did Betty Jeanne Solomon Die?
Betty grew up in New York and was the oldest of four children. She was outgoing, and after graduating from high school in 1966, she began studying at SUNY New Paltz in New York. Betty married Paul Solomon in 1970, and the couple had a daughter together, Kristan. They eventually settled in Greenburgh, New York, with Paul working as a schoolteacher and Jeanne working as an account executive at a collection agency.
At around 11:45 pm on January 15, 1989, Paul returned home to make a horrific discovery. He found the TV on and the lights off, with his 40-year-old wife on the living room floor. She was lying face down in a pool of blood. Betty was shot nine times, including four times in the back, with a .25-caliber firearm. The authorities later learned that she called 911 at around 7:15 PM, saying someone was trying to kill her. However, the police went to the wrong address because of an outdated directory.
Who Killed Betty Jeanne Solomon?
The authorities learned that Paul and Betty had some trouble in the marriage, with the latter even considering leaving him at one point. The prosecution later stated that she had an affair for nine years, but the couple decided to stay together. When Paul was questioned, he mentioned leaving home at around 6:30 PM on January 15 to go bowling with some friends. However, they learned that he met Carolyn Warmus after that; she was a schoolteacher who used to work at Paul’s school.
The police then realized that Carolyn and Paul had an affair. They met in 1987, with things turning sexual soon after. While Paul later claimed that he ended the affair the following spring but resumed relations in the summer of 1988. Carolyn told the police that she met Paul at a hotel where they had drinks and then had sex in her car. The authorities were also struck by Carolyn’s behavior after the murder. At the time, Paul broke things off with Carolyn for good and began dating another teacher. During one instance, when Paul was in Puerto Rico with his girlfriend, Carolyn followed him there.
Looking into her past, Carolyn appeared to have a pattern of pursuing unavailable men. In 1983, she met Paul Laven, who eventually broke things off and got engaged to someone else. Carolyn harassed him, left messages on his phone, and even broke into his house. Then, while in New York, Carolyn had an affair with a married bartender. At the time, she hired a private investigator, Vincent Parco, to look into the bartender. Carolyn hoped to find compromising photos so she could send them to his wife.
In 1987, Carolyn had an affair with Paul. When Vincent was questioned, he stated that she first asked him for a gun in the summer of 1988. While the murder weapon was never found, shell casings from his shop confirmed it was fired from the .25-caliber firearm that killed Betty. Then, Vincent said that in January 1989, he sold Carolyn the .25-caliber gun with a silencer for some cash. Regarding that, Carolyn offered several reasons but mainly cited protection because her other family members were allegedly also in danger.
The prosecution claimed that on the day of the murder, Carolyn placed a call to a gun shop in New Jersey and then bought ammo using someone else’s license. Liisa Kittah said she lost her license in August 1988 while working next to Carolyn. The defense, though, claimed that records showed no evidence of a call to the gun shop but a call to her mother at around 6:44 PM, making it impossible for her to get to Greenburgh in time.
Where is Carolyn Warmus Today?
Carolyn’s first trial in 1991 ended in a hung jury, but there was new evidence during the second trial in May 1992. Paul had found a cashmere glove in a box in his apartment. The glove had some blood, and the prosecution claimed it was Carolyn’s glove; she had bought a similar pair months before the murder. This time, a jury found her guilty of second-degree murder and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon.
In June 1992, then 28-years-old, Carolyn was sentenced to serve 25 years to life for the murder and a concurrent sentence of five to 15 years for the gun charge. She maintained her innocence throughout the proceedings. In June 2019, Carolyn was released on parole after serving 27 years behind bars and has still not given up hopes of exoneration. In May 2021, the prosecution consented to DNA testing of evidence that she long wanted to have examined. For now, Carolyn remains on lifelong parole and will be under supervision in Manhattan, New York.
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