Before there was Casey Anthony or Jodi Arias, the trial of another woman accused of murder captivated the country. Her name is Carolyn Warmus, a good girl next door turned femme fatale mistress accused of gunning down her lover's wife.
Carolyn Warmus, a then-25-year-old schoolteacher, was convicted of killing Betty Jeanne Solomon, the wife of her 40-year-old secret lover, Paul Solomon. Now, at age 54, after spending 29 years behind bars, Warmus is fighting to get her hands on the key piece of evidence that could unlock her cell door.
To this day Carolyn Warmus maintains her innocence, and now she's sitting down with Crime Watch Daily from behind bars in upstate New York to reveal new details that she claims will finally clear her name.
Her sensational case ignited a firestorm of endless screaming front-page headlines and feverish nightly news reports portraying Caroline as a seductive young femme fatale who shot her lover's wife to death in a jealous bloody fury.
"Nothing in the media portrayed me well," Carolyn Warmus tells Crime Watch Daily. "Had they just focused on the truth and the facts, it would have been a different story, but I guess that doesn't make a sexy story to sell in the media."
The real-life story drew comparisons to the movies. But in real life, Carolyn Warmus appeared to be a most unlikely villainess.
"I was like the girl next door," said Warmus.
A millionaire's daughter from Michigan who had gone to the best private schools had just graduated from Columbia University in New York City and was working as an elementary school teacher in upscale Westchester County, N.Y.
"My mom was a schoolteacher, and education was always very important in our family, and then I loved being around children, so it just sort of seemed like a perfect fit," said Warmus.
But Warmus admits she indulged in a very different kind of life outside of the classroom, wallowing in the free-wheeling excesses of the anything-goes roaring '80s.
"I was enjoying myself as a young 23-year-old woman living in Manhattan," said Warmus. "I think in today's day and age they call it 'hooking up.'"
Among the many men in her life was Paul Solomon, an older fellow teacher Warmus says hit on her soon after they began working together.
"Paul Solomon approached me and said a lot of the teachers were getting together to go to a local restaurant bar, and did I want to go, and I said 'Sure,'" said Warmus. "And the only person who showed up was Paul Solomon."
A married man with a teenage daughter and a reputation as a serial womanizer.
"Having relations with colleagues, schoolteachers, other people," said Warmus's defense attorney William Aronwald.
But Carolyn Warmus claims she didn't find out until it was too late.
"I was already dating him and that was certainly a huge mistake by me to continue dating him, and to not have ended it right then and there," said Warmus. "He said that he had an open marriage, so I just thought that's the way things are in the big city."
Did he ever tell you that he loved you?
"Oh sure, sure, he wrote cards and everything," said Warmus.
And did you tell him you felt the same way?
"Mhm, I did," said Warmus.
Did he lead you to believe that ultimately the two of you would end up together?
"Oh sure. Absolutely. He said after his daughter finished high school," said Warmus. "At that point it was like three or four [years]."
Warmus says Paul Solomon told her his wife was also having an affair with his knowledge and approval.
"It turned out to be true because she had been dating a man for eight years," said Warmus.
Did you ever meet his wife?
"We did. We did meet at school functions," said Warmus.
Warmus says she was even invited to family dinners at the Solomon house.
Wasn't that awkward?
"I thought it would be very, very awkward, and Paul sort of encouraged me, and said, 'I want you to see. I want you to see how we interact together,'" said Warmus. "It was bizarre."
Because then something else happened: Paul Solomon came home on the night of January 15, 1989 to find his wife Betty Jeanne viciously murdered. He called police.
"The call, from what I remember, was very frantic," said Greenburgh Police Detective Richard Constantino. Constantino was the lead detective on the case.
"I walk into their apartment and saw the body of Betty Jeanne Solomon laying face up on the floor in the living room," said Constantino.
She had been pistol-whipped and shot, with nine bullets in her body, three of them in her back.
"She was pretty well covered in blood and her clothes were blood-soaked," said Constantino
And lying right next to her body was a glove, which police failed to collect as evidence.
Was that a major mistake?
"It was an oversight," said Constantino.
One that would come to change the entire course of the case.
Do you think it's odd that a glove was left near the body?
"If it's from the killer," said Carolyn Warmus.
Paul Solomon had just found the bullet-riddled body of his wife Betty Jeanne lying on the living room floor of their suburban New York apartment. But lead detective Richard Constantino couldn't understand why Paul had no blood on him.
"Paul Solomon said when he arrived home, she was face down and he rolled her body over," said Constantino.
And Constantino wasn't happy to learn that the first police officers at the crime scene had allowed Solomon to wash his hands and change his bloody clothes.
"It's the possibility of losing items of evidence, either trace evidence or gunshot residue, especially if you wash your hands," said Constantino.
Sure enough, when Paul Solomon's hands were tested for residue that might have placed the murder weapon in his hands --
"They didn't find any, no," said Richard Constantino.
But Constantino is still highly suspicious of Solomon.
"Our first suspect was Paul Solomon," said Constantino. "Because he was the last person to see the victim, and he was the one to find the body.
"He pretty much made himself a suspect by his demeanor, the way he spoke, and to be pretty honest with you, I was really leaning towards him being the shooter," said Constantino. "He was very sheepish."
Constantino could understand why after talking to those who knew him.
"As our investigation unfolded, we found out he was if you want to call it 'a serial adulterer.' He had many affairs through the years," said Constantino.
But Solomon gave police a thorough account of what he did the day his wife was murdered.
"Woke up in the morning, made love, and he just hung around the house all day long watching TV," said Constantino.
Which his wife, tragically, was no longer alive to verify. But 40-year-old Paul Solomon's 25-year-old lover Carolyn Warmus would confirm at least part of what else Solomon told police he did that day.
"He received a phone call from Carolyn in the afternoon and made plans to meet her for her birthday later on in the evening," said Constantino.
At a nearby Holiday Inn, they had drinks before Solomon gave Warmus a special birthday present.
And you were intimate in the parking lot in the car?
"Right," Warmus tells Crime Watch Daily.
But Paul Solomon still wasn't off the hook. Because of the timeline, the medical examiner estimates Betty Jeanne Solomon died between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. Police figured her husband had more than enough time to murder her.
"We kind of kept him on the top of the list as a suspect," said Constantino.
But something strange happened hundreds of miles away that suddenly made Carolyn Warmus the focus of the investigation.
"I said 'Whoa, OK, this woman, Warmus, she's going to extremes here,'" said Richard Constantino.
Paul Solomon had dumped Carolyn Warmus for another female teacher soon after his wife's murder. And police say an insanely jealous and furious Warmus had followed Solomon and his new girlfriend all the way from New York to Puerto Rico, where they had gone for a romantic getaway, Warmus frantically trying to confront Solomon face to face.
So what happened there in Puerto Rico?
"She made numerous phone call attempts to his room that he didn't respond to, and when he refused to see her, the security people in the hotel said that she was acting strange," said Constantino.
But Warmus tells an entirely different story.
Were you stalking Paul Solomon?
"No," said Warmus. "He invited me down to Puerto Rico. I called down there and told him what time my flight was going to be arriving, 'So be there to pick me up.' He was pursuing me, and rekindling the relationship. It wasn't the other way around."
Solomon and his new girlfriend fled back to New York, where he told police Warmus had made them fear for their safety.
"She wanted Paul Solomon and she was going to go to any extreme to get him," said Constantino.
But Warmus claims Solomon had lured her into a trap so he could get the heat off himself by portraying her to police as an unstable woman with an attraction so obsessive that she was capable of killing his wife.
Do you think he was trying to frame you?
"Absolutely. Absolutely," said Warmus.
If that really was the plan, it worked.
"So now I am going to give a little bit more credence to her as a suspect," said Richard Constantino.
And police found a suspicious pattern of behavior when they dug into Carolyn Warmus's love life.
"She had a proclivity of going after married men, unattainable men," said Constantino.
Among them, police say, was another man who took legal action to stop her from stalking him and his fiancée.
One couple said they had to get a restraining order against you. Is that true?
"We did a reciprocal restraining order, that he was not going to come near me, my family, the office or anything like that. So that's what that was about," said Warmus. "Nobody wants to describe it in its entirety."
Police also uncovered other evidence against Carolyn Warmus. The most damaging were allegations that she bought a .25-caliber Beretta with a silencer, like the one used to shoot Betty Jeanne Solomon nine times; and proof suggesting Warmus purchased bullets for the gun on the very day of the murder; plus a passionate motive.
What do you think of that motive that the prosecution said you killed Betty Jeanne Solomon because you wanted her husband all to yourself?
"Paul Solomon said that he and his wife were planning to get divorced, so what would be the purpose, what would be the gain, the benefit for me? It's not even something that I would consider," said Warmus. "I mean, that's like out of a soap opera."
A year after the murder, police charged Carolyn Warmus with killing Betty Jeanne Solomon, even though they had no physical evidence linking Warmus to the crime.
"I would like to have had a smoking gun," said Richard Constantino, lead detective on the case. "I would have liked to have had a signed confession. I would have liked to have had a giant stadium filled with witnesses, but we didn't."
And that glove photographed lying near Mrs. Solomon's body, but not collected as evidence, mysteriously vanished. Her husband Paul Solomon said he couldn't find it in his apartment.
So ultimately in your case there is no forensic evidence, no eyewitnesses, no murder weapon?
"Right. It was a completely circumstantial case," said Carolyn Warmus.
Carolyn Warmus had already been branded the killer in the court of public opinion. And she only fed the media frenzy when the former elementary schoolteacher and typical girl next door turned up at her murder trial looking every bit the part of the femme fatale.
"As far as the public's perception was concerned, I'm not sure she presented a very favorable image," said William Aronwald, Warmus's defense attorney. "The visual image of Carolyn getting out of the limousine with the hat on, and the short skirt and the sunglasses may have presented an image of somebody having something to hide, you know, being somewhat mysterious."
Perpetuating the notion that Warmus was a real-life version of the villainous Glenn Close character in the movie Fatal Attraction, one of the biggest box office hits in history.
Were there any similarities?
"He was a married man. That was the similarity," Carolyn Warmus tells Crime Watch Daily.
So what did you think of that comparison, and how much do you think it prejudiced your case?
"Oh, I think it was huge prejudice, huge prejudice," said Warmus. "They tried the case in the media."
But Warmus continued to fuel that prejudice in the courtroom, where she sat silently with her head down and her back to the camera as sensational testimony had everyone else's heads spinning.
"I was very friendly with Carolyn. For whatever reason, she pushed the right buttons, or I didn't think properly," private detective Vincent Parco said on the stand during the trial.
In a devastating blow to Warmus's defense, private detective Vincent Parco testified he sold Carolyn Warmus a .25-caliber Beretta with a custom-made silencer. Just like the weapon police say she used to murder Betty Jeanne Solomon, the wife of Warmus's lover, Paul Solomon.
But now Carolyn Warmus tells Crime Watch Daily that Vincent Parco lied.
Did Vincent Parco ever sell you a gun?
"No," said Warmus.
"She basically has testified that she never had any need for the gun," said William Aronwald.
And the private eye was even caught lying to police, not initially telling them that he'd sold Warmus that gun.
"Did you tell them everything that you know?"
"Why not, Mr. Parco?"
"I was afraid."
"Afraid of what at that time?"
"I realized I'd done something illegal and stupid by selling her a firearm."
The defense claims Parco changed his story to save himself from being prosecuted.
"He got complete immunity," said Aronwald.
But then the prosecution dropped an unexpected bombshell: phone company records showed a call from Warmus's home to a gun shop in New Jersey on the very day of Mrs. Solomon's murder.
Did you make that call to Ray's Sports Shop?
"No. I don't even know if that call was made," Warmus tells Crime Watch Daily.
But the official bill from MCI showed that it came from your home at 3 o'clock. So if you didn't make that call, who did?
And the defense presented a second billing document mysteriously showing no record of that call at all.
The bill that the prosecution got from the phone company showed that call from your home.
"Right, and then the second bill -- first of all it wasn't bills, it was like, computer records," said Warmus. "Then they got a second statement which showed another discrepancy. So they introduced two computer copies or something that actually contradicted themselves, and then there was, the actual hard bill, the printed bill on paper."
One of those bills was a fraud?
"Or an error or something," said Warmus.
Carolyn Warmus and her defense claim the records were somehow doctored to frame her, but the judge sided with the prosecution, allowing the phone bill showing Warmus made the call to be entered as evidence.
Still, police had no direct evidence to support claims that Warmus went to the gun shop after that call to buy bullets. But they did find that gun shop records showed one of Warmus's co-workers bought bullets on the day of the murder. Cops say that coworker looked like Carolyn Warmus, and told them her driver's license had been stolen. But the defense questions that story too.
"They weren't even able to determine whether or not the shell casings at the crime scene matched the shell casings that were sold by this gun shop in New Jersey," said William Aronwald.
Nor could the prosecution find any witnesses.
"None of the people in the gun shop, when shown photographs of Carolyn Warmus, were able to identify her as the person who had come into the store that day to purchase any ammunition," said Aronwald.
But Vincent Parco shocked the courtroom once more when he claimed Warmus actually told him she'd disposed of the murder weapon, which has never been found.
"She says 'I don't have it anymore. I threw it away.' I said 'Well where would you throw it? Where would you get rid of it?' And she said something to the effect, 'I threw it away off a parkway,'" Parco testified.
What about the gun Parco said that you had told him that you threw it over a parkway? Did you ever dispose of the gun?
"I never had a gun to dispose of," said Warmus.
Then the defense raised the possibility the killer may have even been a man, pointing to a phone call made from the Solomon home at the time police say Betty Jeanne Solomon was being murdered.
"It was a female voice reporting that someone, he or she, 'is trying to kill me,'" said Richard Constantino, lead detective on the case.
And the defense suggests that possible "he" could have been Vincent Parco.
"There could just as well be reasons for you to kill Betty Jeanne Solomon, right?"
"I don't even know the woman. I would never kill anybody. I never did, and never will kill anybody, except in self-defense."
But a truck driver named Antonio Gambino testified that Parco had tried to hire him to commit a murder just before Mrs. Solomon was found shot dead.
"I happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, and this was the gentleman that came up to my truck," Gambino testified.
The defense also accused lead detective Richard Constantino of failing to thoroughly investigate Vincent Parco as a possible suspect.
"You searched Parco's office, right?"
"What is the next logical place to search? His home, right?"
"You didn't do that?"
But Constantino says Parco was one of several persons of interest, including Betty Jeanne Solomon's own lover, who had verified alibis.
"Everybody was a suspect at the time, but they were eventually ruled out," said Constantino.
Except for Paul Solomon, that is, who had remained the prime suspect for nearly a year before police charged Carolyn Warmus with his wife's murder.
"My wife and I were having difficult times."
"Weren't you angry?"
"I was upset about it, yes."
Paul Solomon was furious when the defense suggests he too, like Parco, could be her killer.
"For you to stand there and say that I could do that to my wife, or to anybody, is obscene," Paul Solomon said on the stand.
The defense continued to attack him.
"Mr. Solomon, you have no idea who was in that house that killed your wife, right?"
That ignited a fiery exchange.
"I'm not really concerned with what you believe. I know what my family and friends and people who know me believe," Solomon said on the stand.
"And your family and your friends are the people over the years you've had occasion to look in the eye and lie to, right?"
Neither Solomon or Parco have ever been charged in the murder, but Solomon became angry again when the defense pointed out that, like Parco, he was also granted immunity from prosecution in return for his testimony against Carolyn Warmus.
"There's no court of law that's going to punish or judge you."
"What I know will judge me is perhaps not a court of law, and rightfully so, because a court of law shouldn't judge me for this."
The entire Carolyn Warmus case had changed dramatically with one phone call -- that 911 call made to police by a woman believed to be Betty Jeanne Solomon saying she was being attacked in her home, leaving the operator unsure whether she'd referred to her assailant as "he" or "she."
"This is what she [the operator] put in her notes," Warmus tells Crime Watch Daily.
That raised the possibility that Betty Jeanne's murderer was a man -- perhaps even her own husband, and Warmus's lover, Paul Solomon, who was indignant at the suggestion.
"I'll accept my guilt for the affair," Paul Solomon said on the stand. "I only hope to God that when I'm punished and judged, that you're punished and judged for what you've done here."
Warmus still isn't sure if Solomon could have committed the murder and pinned it on her.
Do you think that Paul Solomon was the one who killed his wife?
"Well now, I certainly have a lot of questions," said Warmus.
Betty Jeanne's 911 call also caused the medical examiner to change the time of death from between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. to between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m., suddenly giving Warmus an alibi.
"She was on her way to see Paul Solomon," said attorney William Aronwald.
Warmus's phone records entered into evidence by her defense team confirmed she made a call from her home at 6:44 p.m., just before driving 45 minutes to meet Paul Solomon around 7:30 p.m., only about 15 minutes after Betty Jeanne's 911 call.
Therefore you wouldn't have been able to make it over to Paul Solomon's home in time to commit the crime.
"Right," said Warmus.
During trial, the prosecution argued those phone records were phony, but in the end the defense had apparently raised enough doubt to save Carolyn Warmus from being convicted of Betty Jeanne Solomon's murder.
"The jury was hung eight to four in favor of conviction," said William Aronwald.
Then, ultimately, two years later there was a second trial, a virtual replay of the first one -- except for one crucial new piece of evidence: that glove found lying near Betty Jeanne's body at the crime scene resurfaced.
"So that was the principal difference between the two trials, the presence of this quote-unquote 'missing glove,'" said Aronwald.
Lead detective Richard Constantino recalls it having blood on it.
"I believe from my understanding there was blood specks were found on the glove," said Constantino.
"This is vital evidence that could identify the person who killed Betty Jeanne Solomon," said Aronwald.
But initial forensic testing on the glove at the crime scene was not sophisticated enough to glean any blood at the time. And police actually gave the mysterious glove to Paul Solomon.
"He just took the glove and other items of clothing, put them in a box and stored them in a closet," said Constantino.
So it wasn't even taken from the home, the glove?
"No," said Warmus.
The prosecution and defense had both wanted the glove for the first trial, and Paul Solomon had been implored to look for it.
"He claimed that he searched high and low, every square inch of the apartment. Couldn't find it," said William Aronwald.
Then he just happened to stumble upon the glove after the first trial was over.
"And lo and behold, Paul comes in, he says 'I found the glove. It was on a shelf in the closet in the master bedroom,'" said Aronwald.
Just as Carolyn Warmus was about to be tried again.
"Literally on the eve of trial, the second trial," said Aronwald.
And the glove immediately whipped up a storm in the courtroom.
"In comes the prosecution, and they say 'Judge, we have a glove, a missing piece of evidence. The glove that we didn't have at the first trial, we now have,'" said Aronwald.
The prosecution wanted forensic tests conducted on the glove, hoping blood belonging to Carolyn Warmus will be found. But there are some serious questions about the glove, which the defense claimed suddenly appeared to have a lot of blood on it that wasn't there when it was found at the crime scene.
"How do we know this is the same glove from the crime scene photos? How do we know that this glove is in the same condition today as it was in the crime scene photo? How do we know how long the blood's been on there, and where is the log, judge?" said Aronwald. "We don't know where the glove was all this time."
And so little attention was paid to the glove found at the crime scene that it's not even clear if it was a man's or a woman's glove.
"We all wanted to test it," said Carolyn Warmus.
But the judge refused to allow forensic testing, stating there didn't appear to be enough blood for DNA testing, and saying the glove's whereabouts can't be verified during the time it was missing.
"These new lab employees supposedly said that so many people have handled the glove -- jurors, district attorneys, people in the lab and stuff -- that it would be more difficult to get a pure DNA sample," said Warmus.
Despite this, the judge does allow the glove itself to be entered as evidence, raising objections by Carolyn Warmus's attorneys.
"I don't see how in any way shape or form it ever should have been introduced into evidence at the second trial," said appeals attorney Dennis Kelly.
And the prosecution pounced on it, producing a receipt showing Warmus had bought two pairs of gloves just months before the murder.
"And the gloves were of the same manufacture and model as the glove that Paul Solomon found in his bedroom closet," said Aronwald.
But there's nothing else to link them to the glove in question.
"We don't know whether it's the same color, we don't know anything else about the glove other than make and model," said Aronwald.
Surprisingly, even the lead detective on the case agrees.
"There was no definitive evidence tying that blood on the glove to either the victim or Carolyn Warmus," said Richard Constantino. "And there was no definitive evidence tying that glove to Carolyn Warmus. It was just circumstantial evidence, as is everything else with the case."
Despite that, after hearing from a staggering 55 witnesses, the jury in trial number two unanimously convicted Carolyn Warmus of second-degree murder.
"I was just in shock. I was just in shock," said Warmus.
William Aronwald, her defense attorney in that retrial, was shocked too.
"It was stunning. I mean we really thought that we had done enough and made enough points during the trial and during the closing arguments to establish, if nothing else, reasonable doubt," said Aronwald.
Carolyn Warmus blames it all on that glove.
Do you think the glove was the linchpin in the second trial that led to your conviction?
"Oh definitely, definitely. It was the big difference," Warmus tells Crime Watch Daily.
Carolyn Warmus has always maintained her innocence, and she tells Crime Watch Daily why it's so important for her to get an early release from prison.
For nearly 30 years, Warmus has been proclaiming her innocence.
"I've always maintained my innocence. I've been steadfast with that," said Warmus.
But Richard Constantino, the lead detective in the Betty Jeanne Solomon murder case, has just as steadfastly maintained that Carolyn Warmus did kill Paul Solomon's wife.
"I know that she did -- she did this homicide," Constantino tells Crime Watch Daily.
So I'll ask you again. Did you kill Betty Jeanne Solomon?
"Of course not. Absolutely not," said Warmus.
She says it could turn out to be her last testament.
"So at any time I could stop breathing and swallowing and having a heartbeat. In essence, die," said Warmus.
Warmus claims she has a brain tumor that is not malignant, but still life-threatening, as it continues to grow.
"My symptoms are rapidly getting worse," said Warmus.
So this could potentially be your last interview?
"Could be," said Warmus.
Carolyn Warmus, now 54, tells me she's been offered surgery while in custody, and initially refused. But now she's finally agreed to have it done while incarcerated, even though she comes up for parole again this summer.
Did it ever cross your mind to admit to the crime, even though you maintain your innocence, to try to get paroled so you can save your own life?
"Well, no," said Warmus.
That's something that you won't do?
"I am definitely not accepting responsibility for the crime, by any means, for certain," said Warmus.
The one-time schoolteacher is now getting unexpected legal help to try to prove she's innocent while she's still alive.
Jeffrey Deskovic, who once had his own rape and murder conviction overturned by DNA evidence, now uses the millions of dollars he received as compensation to help others like Carolyn Warmus, whom he believes was wrongly convicted.
So there are a lot of similarities to your case here?
"Yes," said Deskovic.
And Deskovic has hired attorney Dennis Kelly to try to get Warmus one last appeal.
So you believe 100 percent that she is innocent?
"One hundred percent," Kelly said.
But once again, proving her innocence comes down to testing that mysterious glove found at the crime scene. But Dennis Kelly is meeting with continued resistance from authorities.
"They say they can test it. But it will consume all of the material," said Kelly. "I don't know why they're saving the material. It just doesn't make sense."
But Kelly continues to fight to test the glove with modern DNA technology that wasn't available at the time of the murder or Warmus's two trials.
"And I hope I can do something or find something that can help Carolyn," said Kelly.
And he believes the tests will either prove it is not Carolyn Warmus's blood on it, or show that it's not even the same glove found at the crime scene.
"And I can't understand why the D.A. wouldn't test the glove. Why are they opposed to it?" said Kelly.
Warmus is suspicious.
"What's in there that they're hiding?" said Warmus.
Warmus believes that whether the glove is real or was planted, it would still exonerate her.
"If the DNA comes back for the blood as somebody else's DNA, then that's the killer," said Warmus.
Crime Watch Daily reached out to prosecutors about their reasons for not testing the glove, and they had no comment. But Carolyn Warmus tells us there's a chance she could still be released from prison without even having to appeal.
"I am actually being considered for something called 'compassionate release,'" said Warmus.
And that would free you permanently?
"Oh yes, yes," said Warmus.
That's giving her hope that she can continue her battle to clear her name as a free woman.
"I try to look to the future. I try to look forward. I try to look at the bright side," said Carolyn Warmus.
After news of his infidelity spread, Paul Solomon was removed from the classroom and assigned to non-teaching duties.