The Fatal Attraction Murder Case
Paul Solomon Tells His Story
On February 7, 1991, Paul Solomon was called to the stand to tell the jury what he knew about his wife's death. Devoid of the full beard he wore at the time of the murder, Solomon took the stand amidst a sense of anticipation by the prosecution as well as the defense. It was no secret that part of the defense strategy was to place suspicion on Paul Solomon. Lewis wanted the jury to see Solomon as the philandering husband who had a valid motive for doing away with his wife. The defense wanted the jury to believe that a middle-aged man like Solomon would be willing to do anything to share his bed with a desirable, voluptuous woman like Carolyn Warmus. Dressed in a dark suit and matching tie, he sat uncomfortably in the witness chair while the sordid details of his private life became center stage.
He told the court of his failed marriage, his several girlfriends in past years, including Carolyn, and of the terrible night when he found Betty Jeanne dead on his living room floor. Under detailed questioning by A. D. A. James McCarty, Solomon went on to say that he felt guilty about his sexual relationship with Carolyn and wanted to break up with her. "I cared for Carolyn very much," he said. "I felt guilty about the sex...I was not going to divorce Betty Jeanne." But he had intercourse and oral sex with Carolyn on several occasions during the year. "It's very hard to resist Carolyn," Solomon said as he reached for the water pitcher.
After McCarty finished his questioning, it was time for the defense to have a go at Paul Solomon. David Lewis, who had prepared weeks in advance for this moment, began his methodical destruction of Betty Jeanne's husband on the witness stand. Referring to his past girlfriends Lewis asked how many affairs he had in the past.
"Could you define the word affair please?" asked Solomon.
"You know what adultery is?" said Lewis.
"During my marriage, the nineteen years I was married, I have known a couple other people, yes."
"You're having trouble admitting to this, is that the problem?" Lewis shouted back. He also made the jury aware that Solomon had received immunity from prosecution when he testified before the grand jury
"You knew that by testifying you would get immunity, right?" Lewis asked.
"Yes, that's what I was told," Solomon replied.
"And you would get immunity from being prosecuted as the killer of your wife, right?"
Solomon's voice rose in anger. "You mean prosecuted for the crime that was committed, yes!"
"You know that you could have waived immunity, right?"
"Correct," Solomon said.
"But you didn't do that?"
"No. I did not," Solomon replied. Lewis was scoring big points with the jurors who he hoped were beginning to see Solomon in a different light. But any respect or sympathy the jury had for Paul Solomon evaporated when Lewis revealed that Solomon had made a great deal of money from Betty Jeanne's death.
"You have a deal with Citadel productions and HBO, right?"
"I believe so, yes," Solomon said, looking embarrassed. Lewis asked if it were true that he received $25,000 up front, $100,000 if the movie is made and $30,000 consulting fee.
"I'm kind of interested in hearing this because I don't know the figures," Solomon said.
"You signed the contract?" asked Lewis.
"I know I signed the contract."
"You don't know the movie is called The Paul Solomon Story? You don't know that?" Lewis shouted.
"My great hope was that it wouldn't be made," he said meekly.
Lewis pounced for the kill. "Let me get this straight now, Mr. Solomon. You signed a movie contract for money to not make a movie. Is that what you're telling us!" The room erupted in laughter and whatever credibility Solomon once had was demolished. A short time later, after six days of grueling, often-contentious testimony, a tired, whipped and humiliated Paul Solomon walked off the stand.