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CNN SPECIAL REPORTS
Fatal Attraction Or Fatal Mistake - The Carolyn Warmus Story. Aired 10-11p ET
Aired August 4, 2017 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[22:00:05] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The following is a CNN special report.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tonight -- a young schoolteacher, her married lover.
CAROLYN WARMUS, CONVICTED OF MURDER: I'm in prison for 25 years to life for dating a married man.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: His wife shot nine times. She was called the fatal attraction killer.
KYRA PHILLIPS, ANCHOR, CNN: If you don't get what you want, does it drive you crazy?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Carolyn Warmus maintains she's innocent.
PHILLIPS: Are you a violent person?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Kyra Phillips with an exclusive interview behind bars.
WARMUS: There wasn't much I could say other than the fact that I didn't do it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She says she was wrongfully convicted.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She has been framed.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And a bloody glove that hasn't seen the light of day for 25 years could exonerate her. So why does a DNA test keep getting denied?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's just too much that doesn't add up.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fatal attraction or fatal mistake? The Carolyn Warmus story.
PHILLIPS: She was the glamorous star of a sensational murder mystery, but this was no movie. It was real life. Now decades later, Carolyn Warmus is a shackled inmate. She may not look the same, but her story hasn't changed.
WARMUS: I feel like I'm in prison for 25 years to life for dating a married man.
PHILLIPS: And for a murder she says she never committed.
WARMUS: I know that I wasn't there. I wasn't involved, and we have a lot of new evidence that shows that.
PHILLIPS: Twenty five years, piles and piles of paperwork, working behind bars to clear her name.
What have you discovered through all the work that you've done for so many years?
WARMUS: I've stumbled upon a treasure-trove of information that I had not known about. They don't give you things that you're legally entitled to defend yourself.
The real killer is still out there.
The New York press is eager to revisit this woman dubbed the fatal attraction killer.
PHILLIPS: The New York press is eager to revisit this woman, dubbed the fatal attraction killer.
How do you feel about the comparison of your case to the fatal attraction movie?
WARMUS: There's no similarities.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So where's your wife?
PHILLIPS: She was compared to the 1987 block buster movie about a sexy obsessive woman who sleeps with a married man.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm not going to be ignored, Dan.
PHILLIPS: And turns into a crazed stalker when he tries to break it off.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's a moniker that was given to Carolyn Warmus when a movie of that subject matter was out.
WARMUS: The whole thing, it's a circus, a media circus.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Carolyn Warmus.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Carolyn Warmus.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Carolyn Warmus was arrested.
PHILLIPS: A circus in the press.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Carolyn Warmus is accused of shooting to death Betty Jeanne Solomon.
PHILLIPS: And a bonanza for made for T.V. movies.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So that's Warmus. W-a-r-m-u-s. WARMUS: Right.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ms. Carolyn Warmus?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Detective William Lowe of NYPD. We have a warrant to search these premises.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She's been referred to as the fatal attraction killer in the media.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fatal attraction trial.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And they've made three or four movies about it now.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What are you doing? What are you doing?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All of which showed the prosecution's side, and none of which ever aired her contentions or her side of the story.
PHILLIPS: A story her new lawyer, James Lenihan believes, and he's not the only one.
JAMES LENIHAN, ATTORNEY: There's just too much that doesn't add up.
BENNETT GERSHMAN, PROFESSOR, PACE LAW SCHOOL: The prosecutor and the police from the beginning made this case into a fatal attraction case. We had a terrible prejudicial impact on Carolyn Warmus right to receive a fair trial.
PHILLIPS: Professor Bennett Gershman specializes in wrongful convictions, he says this is a textbook case of reasonable doubt.
GERSHMAN: I mean, we know there was no forensic evidence found at the scene of the crime to link Carolyn Warmus to the murder.
PHILLIPS: Jeffrey Deskovic can relate.
JEFFREY DESKOVIC, WRONGLY CONVICTED OF CRIME: It hasn't fully hit me at this point.
PHILLIPS: He was wrongfully convicted in Westchester County, the same county where Warmus was tried. His foundation is now assisting her.
[22:05:05] DESKOVIC: There's a lot of red flags around her case that are found in other wrongful conviction cases.
PHILLIPS: No eyewitness, no confession. No murder weapon.
Do you believe that you can help overturn this conviction?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I believe I can help Carolyn get this conviction overturned.
PHILLIPS: What is it? Is it a smoking gun? Is it an instinct?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, my father told me when I was a kid, there are going to come times in your life when you're going to have a little birdie chirping in your ear. He said no matter what you do in life, always listen to that birdie. When I met Carolyn, the birdie began to sing.
PHILLIPS: Warmus who is from a wealthy Michigan family graduated with a master's degree from Colombia University in 1987. She was living in the big apple and loving her first teaching job in the suburbs of New York. Paul Solomon 17 years her senior became her mentor and she was captivated by his charm.
How did he steal your heart?
WARMUS: Like puppy love almost, but at the time I thought this was real love, you know, this was real deep love. He was intelligent. I'm sort of intelligent. I don't know. You know, just paid a lot of attention to me.
PHILLIPS: But as you can see now, her fun and free life did not last very long.
How would you describe the Carolyn Warmus now versus that young 23- year-old that fell in love with a fellow teacher?
WARMUS: I mean, I really liked who I was before, and I was happy-go- lucky. And always like upbeat and had a positive attitude and seeing the bright side in everything. I had such a nice, I had a such happy life. I had a great career. I traveled. I had friends. I did so many things. And I was very happy with my life.
PHILLIPS: So when you did find out he was married, why did you stay in the relationship?
WARMUS: Well, that was a big mistake. Right. I should have ended it.
PHILLIPS: Warmus says Solomon told her he was in an open marriage.
WARMUS: He said no, this is not a happy marriage. And I dated him for a year and a half. I met his friends. So, it's not like I was hidden in a back closet or something.
PHILLIPS: Paul Solomon lived in a Westchester condo with his daughter Christen and his wife Betty Jeanne.
Did he ever tell you that he would leave her for you?
WARMUS: He said that he was not going to leave her until after Christen graduated high school.
PHILLIPS: So he told you that he would eventually divorce Betty Jeanne. Did he ever mention that he would get rid of her in any way?
PHILLIPS: Nothing violent?
WARMUS: No. He never said anything like that.
PHILLIPS: When we come back, Betty Jeanne Solomon murdered. Shot nine times in her living room.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This woman was beaten mercilessly before she was shot.
[22:10:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm a really bad girl.
PHILLIPS: The Danger of Love portrays Carolyn Warmus as a volatile sex pot as do all the other dramas and made-for-T.V. movies.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm an ordinary girl with extraordinary tastes.
PHILLIPS: That's not the woman Reese and Stan Berman say she knew.
REESE BERMAN, CAROLYN WARMUS' SCHOOLMATE: Attractive, gregarious, warm, flirtatious, confident, and a very easy to talk to and be with.
PHILLIPS: Reese Berman and Warmus were colleagues in the Westchester school district.
BERMAN: There was sort of an exuberant flamboyant vivacious fun- loving element to her personality.
PHILLIPS: It was the late 80s. Spandex, big shoulder pads, and movies like "When Harry Met Sally" that celebrated female sexuality for all the rage.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: God.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'll have what she's having.
PHILLIPS: Like Meg Ryan's bubbly blonde character, Warmus was also living the single life in Manhattan and dating plenty of men. Among them, her married mentor Paul Solomon. Until January 18th, 1989. A day that started like any other Sunday.
WARMUS: Making phone calls, calling my family. You know, I'm not from New York. My family is out of state, so I was always in touch with my family. That was about it. Watching T.V.
PHILLIPS: And then you saw Paul that night?
WARMUS: Right. I spoke to him that day for about an hour. And at the end of the phone call he invited me to meet him.
PHILLIPS: And how was his demeanor? How is he acting towards you?
WARMUS: Fine. He was very affectionate. You know, he was happy to see me. We went to a restaurant in the -- one of the Holiday Inns. They have a restaurant in the bottom part. We just had a nice time. You know, I don't know. Just, you know. Looking at each other, talking.
PHILLIPS: We would love to give you Paul Solomon's account of that fateful evening, however, he has repeatedly declined our request for an interview.
He did, however, sell his story to Citadel Pictures who made this movie "Danger of Love" in 1992. The film shows Paul Solomon heading out and leaving his wife alone in their Westchester condo.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You shouldn't go, you know.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Love you.
PHILLIPS: He drives to a bowling alley but stays only for a few minutes before meeting Carolyn Warmus at a restaurant.
[22:15:02] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi. Sorry I got held up. It's freezing out there.
PHILLIPS: She arrives just after he does. They have a romantic dinner together, and the night ends with a sexual encounter in the parking lot. Solomon returns home and finds his wife dead in a pool of blood.
The night of the murder police interrogated Solomon and Warmus says they knocked on her door around 2 a.m. then drove her to the station.
WARMUS: And I told them everything. You know, I said, yes, I said we just had sexual relations of some sort in the car. There were two policemen, and one would step out. Then he would come back, and they would say well, Paul Solomon said that he didn't have any physical contact with you.
And I said that's not true. He's lying because I can tell you what color underwear he was wearing. And they got up and walked out of the room again. And came back in and they said OK. We believe you.
PHILLIPS: So was he trying to deny that he was even with you at all that night?
WARMUS: He told the police that he had gone bowling and that was his alibi for the night. Then he said OK, I was with her. Which is why they had sort of come down to me and get my information.
PHILLIPS: Did it ever cross your mind that maybe they thought you had something to do with it?
WARMUS: No, no, no. They told me that they think he had something to do with it.
PHILLIPS: Betty Jeanne Solomon alone at home that Sunday evening was pistol whipped around the head and shot at close range.
LENIHAN: This woman was beaten mercilessly before she was shot. And it's my understanding that she was shot nine times. That's not something that's done by someone who may have fired a gun once in their life. PHILLIPS: So are you saying that it wasn't physically or technically
possible that Carolyn Warmus could beat Betty Jeanne severely and shoot her nine times?
LENIHAN: What I'm saying is that there are certain people who are inherently evil, who are ruthless, who run their spouse over eight or nine times in the driveway because they're that upset.
PHILLIPS: Is that Carolyn Warmus?
LENIHAN: Not the Carolyn Warmus that I know.
BERMAN: I never saw her angry. I didn't ever see her that way.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Same for me.
PHILLIPS: For months Paul Solomon was the only suspect, and Warmus a witness. Cooperating with the investigation.
WRMUS: Seven months passed. I hadn't spoken to him.
PHILLIPS: And then he shows up at your door.
PHILLIPS: And what happened?
WARMUS: Well, he told me he'd been there for a couple of hours waiting to see me, and we sat and talked and had drinks. And he said that the police were still making his life, you know, miserable.
PHILLIPS: So it was like being back together again?
WARMUS: Yes. That's exactly what we did, picked up where we literally left off.
PHILLIPS: Rekindled but only for that one night, Warmus says.
And when was the next time you saw him?
WARMUS: He said, Carolyn, he said I can't see you again. Like, what do you mean you can't see me again? You just -- you're the one that pursued me. He said that because I was with him and he was with me the night of the crime, the police still think that he's the suspect, that he's the one that did it. So he just felt that if we kept seeing each other the police would never leave him alone.
PHILLIPS: Did that make sense to you?
WARMUS: None of this really made sense to me.
PHILLIPS: But Warmus says he reached out one more time, leaving her a voice mail and inviting her to meet him in the Caribbean.
You go to Puerto Rico. You can't get in touch with him. You can't find him. Didn't that seem odd to you? WARMUS: Well, I thought maybe he was out at the pool, or what was odd
is when I called later and couldn't reach him. That's what was odd.
PHILLIPS: So the story he says is that he was with another woman. He did not invite you down there, that you figured out how to get there yourself. You found out he was with another woman and you stalked him.
And they finally had to leave.
WARMUS: After he was stalking me in Manhattan. I mean, it's just interesting how he sort of flipped the script and, you know, tried to turn the whole thing around and stuff and say that.
PHILLIPS: Solomon told Westchester police Warmus was stalking him. Which sounded plausible as a previous boyfriend had filed a restraining order against her in Michigan in the 80's.
[22:20:01] So the trip to Puerto Rico became the turning point. Warmus was now the prime suspect in the murder of Betty Jeanne Solomon.
Stalking, overly aggressive. This is how Carolyn Warmus has been described by people that knew her.
LENIHAN: People who know her say that she may have been really involved with the individuals that she had relationships with. I don't think that makes her a stalker. And even if it did, not every stalker is a killer.
PHILLIPS: The prosecution clearly stated that her obsessiveness led to murder.
LENIHAN: Well, that's their job is to say things like that. What you didn't hear them say is that Paul Solomon was obsessed with her. He's the one who went after her. He's the one that pursued her. And her presence in Puerto Rico was not because she was stalking him but because he invited her. And if that's true, why would he do that? Why would he invite a former lover to come to a place where he was on vacation with his current lover?
PHILLIPS: None of it added up. When we come back, Warmus goes on trial.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She has been framed.
[22:25:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
PHILLIPS: February 2nd, 1990. More than a year after the brutal killing of Betty Jeanne Solomon Carolyn Warmus was charged with her murder.
WARMUS: I didn't find out until the newspaper called me...
PHILLIPS: That's how you found out you were a suspect? WARMUS: Yes. I didn't know what they were talking about. I couldn't
imagine on what have I done, what could I have possibly done, and they said well, for the murder of Betty Jeanne Solomon.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's been the subject of front page magazine stories, tabloid headlines for months. The day the long awaited fatal attraction trial of Carolyn Warmus opened up in Westchester County.
BERMAN: I would say the Westchester community's state of mind about Carolyn was she was guilty almost immediately. There was an implicit judgment against a woman who was having an affair with a married man.
PHILLIPS: A tabloid sensation. Chased by dozens of reporters. Described as a murderous home wrecker.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And insinuate herself into the life of her lover.
PHILLIPS: Warmus tried to camouflage herself with sunglasses, scarves, even blankets.
Why did you want to protect your identity?
WARMUS: I said, you know, I'm a schoolteacher. And I want to go back and be a schoolteacher. And I said if I keep letting them take photos of me, I'm never going to be able to teach again. I mean, it's going to be tough enough as it is with this case.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Tonight the police were called in to escort accused killer Carolyn Warmus out of the courthouse. It began this morning when the cameras got too close for her comfort, Warmus broke.
PHILLIPS: But all the hats, sunglasses and scarves covering Warmus' face were not enough to compete with this picture seen around the world.
WARMUS: It was not a short skirt.
BERMAN: The skirt was a knee-length short of appropriate skirt.
WARMUS: They had me slide out the side of the door of the car in the back.
PHILLIPS: All women know that when they get out of a vehicle the skirt can ride up.
WARMUS: When my skirt kept hiking up and hiking up and hiking up as I step out and the cameras were there.
BERMAN: And the skirt up, you know, pretty high looking pretty sexy. It was unfortunate.
PHILLIPS: So you didn't take the stand...
PHILLIPS: ... because you felt that you would be portrayed as a loose woman?
WARMUS: A loose, Yes. That's better than slut, yes. A loose woman, right, right.
PHILLIPS: But if you were innocent, forget what they'd say about you. Why not just take the stand and say I'm innocent and this is what happened?
WARMUS: Because, see, I didn't know what happened. I didn't know who did it. There wasn't much I could say other than the fact that I didn't do it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That person, ladies and gentlemen, we will prove to you...
PHILLIPS: Inside the courtroom she was portrayed as a jealous mistress.
JAMES MCCARTHY, PROSECUTOR: She would do anything to get Betty Jeanne Solomon out of the case.
PHILLIPS: During the 13-week trial prosecutor James McCarthy put 56 witnesses on the stand trying to prove that the young and pretty schoolteacher was capable of murder.
MCCARTHY: The defendant developed a consuming desire to possess Paul Solomon to herself. And Betty Jeanne Solomon got squarely in the way.
PHILLIPS: But the testimony wasn't so clear cut. Like a 911 call allegedly made by Betty Jeanne Solomon the night she was murdered. No audio recording exists.
MAYER MORGANROTH, WARMUS' FAMILY LAWYER: And then when she gets on the stand, it becomes I'm not sure whether it was he or she.
PHILLIPS: Warmus' family lawyer Mayer Morganroth says he observed the operator in court as she had difficultly remembering the exact call.
MORGANROTH: What is this a game?
PHILLIPS: And then there was the question of whether or not Warmus purchased a gun. Meet private investigator Vincent Parco. Warmus first met Parco when she inquired about investigating an old boyfriend. But once she was charged with a crime, Warmus's father testified that Parco asked for money to help his daughter's case.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He says well, I'm talking about a big six digit money.
PHILLIPS: But Mr. Warmus testified he turned him down, and after that, Parco became a key witness for the prosecution, testifying that it was he who sold Warmus the murder weapon.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why did you sell her that gun knowing it was illegal?
VINCENT PARCO, PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR: It was a stupid thing to do and something I regret. I regret through the rest of my life.
[22:29:59] PHILLIPS: So Vincent Parco said that he sold you a gun with a silencer. Is that true?
WARMUS: Well, it's not true, and then he said, I paid him $2500 but the police went through all of my bank records, savings account, checking account, everything, credit cards, everything. There's not a penny missing from anything.
PHILLIPS: To this day, no gun was ever found. Even the prosecutor questioned Parko's character.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Vincent Parko is indeed a sinner that has been amply proven.
PHILLIPS: We reached out to Vincent Parco. This was his attorney's response.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Unless there's an appearance fee, then he is not interested.
PHILLIPS: Ok. So unless we pay Parco for an interview, he is not going to do it?
Warmus's lawyers attempted to have Parco's testimony about the gun dismissed.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She has been framed.
PHILLIPS: The defense theory? Parco and Solomon sought to implicate Warmus for the murder, and prosecutors made Parco and Solomon key witnesses. Both were granted immunity from any charges related to their testimony.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, a deal that gives them total immunity from any prosecution for anything, including murder.
BENNET GERSHMAN, PROFESSOR, PACE UNIVERSITY LAW SCHOOL: Is Parco telling the truth? With immunity, you never know. But the prosecutor wanted that critical testimony.
PHILLIPS: And the jurors didn't know who to believe either. The trial ended in a hung jury. Next, another trial with brand new evidence, a bloody glove.
[22:35:29] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It has it all, sex, murder, lust and intimacy, the law is running in Westchester County history back with another season.
PHILLIPS: Eight months after the trial ended in a hung jury, a second trial for Carolyn Warmus. The country still riveted by the woman known as the fatal attraction killer. Warmus still maintaining her innocence, but now the prosecution has new evidence. A bloody glove, no one had ever seen before. They say it will link her to the scene of the crime.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think that the glove was a very damaging piece of evidence.
PHILLIPS: There was always one black glove seen here next to Betty Jeanne Solomon's bloody body.
PHILLIPS: The glove that was found at the crime scene, is it yours?
WARMUS: No. It's not my glove. I did have a pair of black gloves given to me as a gift, and I have both of them, the left and the right.
PHILLIPS: So whose glove is at the crime scene?
WARMUS: I have no idea. It's not mine.
PHILLIPS: The second trial is about to start. What happens?
WARMUS: The prosecutor came in and said we have a glove. My attorney said where was the glove found, and they said in Paul Solomon's bedroom closet. So he went through everything again, and attached to the velcro on his motorcycle glove was a black cloth glove, like a cashmere glove.
PHILLIPS: But was it the same glove pictured next to Betty Jeanne's body?
JAMES LENIHAM, WARMUS ATTORNEY: Supposedly when that glove was found years later, there's a contention that there was fresh blood on it and not old blood. And Judge Kerry, while he made the decision to allow the glove into evidence, he would not allow any evidence about the blood. So that was problematic.
MAYER MORGANROTH, WARMUS FAMILY ATTORNEY: It's ridiculous. It's absurd.
PHILLIPS: Prosecutors connected the glove to Warmus with store receipts for gloves to the same brand that she had purchased years earlier, but the glove's absence from the first trial was never addressed.
MORGANROTH: It's not evidence in any respect. There's nothing that supports it being anything except the fact that the prosecution says well, it was in the closet, and that is it.
JEFFREY DESKOVIC, THE DESKOVIC FOUNDATION FOR JUSTICE: The glove was a major part of the jury finding her guilty. It was found in Paul Solomon's closet with fresh blood on it that has still to this day, has not been tested. That right there was improper to use that in the trial.
PHILLIPS: Do you believe if the glove were tested today for DNA that it would exonerate you from the murder?
WARMUS: Well, I'm 100 percent confident that the blood is not my blood on the glove. If they tested it for DNA, it could be the killer's blood on the glove.
PHILLIPS: Where's that glove now?
LENIHAM: The D.A.'s office has it. It's in evidence. It's stored.
PHILLIPS: Will it be tested?
LENIHAM: If the court allows the testing for DNA, then it will be tested.
PHILLIPS: But the Westchester courts have turned down all Warmus's requests for DNA testing of the glove.
MORGANROTH: They refused. They won't do it. Why?
PHILLIPS: Why? The Westchester D.A.'s office declined comment citing Warmus's ongoing appeal. And that appeal will have to overcome compelling evidence that convicted her, like this. Warmus was accused of driving to New Jersey the day of the murder to purchase bullets, the name on the receipt, Elle Katai? Prosecutors contended Warmus had stolen a driver's license from a co-worker name Lisa Katai. In addition an MCI phone bill showed a phone call to the gun shop from Warmus's apartment.
One of the damaging pieces of evidence was a phone bill showing that you called that gun shop in New Jersey. Did you make that call?
[22:40:00] WARMUS: No. I did not make the call.
PHILLIPS: Then who did?
WARMUS: I don't know if the call was made, and I don't know for sure who made the call. Obviously, I couldn't know for sure. I mean, it was not made by me from my house. That is all I know for sure.
PHILLIPS: All in all, 55 witnesses. Four months of testimony, and still no murder weapon. But this time the jury convicts Carolyn Warmus.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is hereby ordered and judged and decreed that on the verdict's convicting the defendant Carolyn Warmus of murder in the second degree --
PHILLIPS: For Solomon, it was justice.
PAUL SOLOMON, VICTIM'S HUSBAND: I beg of you all now, please allow Christen and me and our families to go forward. I will not make another statement. We need to now have the time to properly --
PHILLIPS: For the defense, a total surprise.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Carolyn Warmus is obviously shocked and disappointed at the verdict to the very end she expected to be acquitted. We do believe there are substantial legal issues which are worthy of appellate consideration.
PHILLIPS: And for Carolyn Warmus, a devastating blow.
WARMUS: I always said this is America. I couldn't be found guilty at trial, because I'm innocent.
PHILLIPS: When we come back --
So who do you think would want Betty Jeanne dead?
PHILLIPS: Bedford hills correctional facility. It's the only maximum security women's prison in New York State. Carolyn Warmus has been incarcerated here for 25 years.
Yes or no? Are you a violent person?
WARMUS: No, never.
PHILLIPS: Are you a jealous person?
WARMUS: No. I mean, maybe I'm a little envious on girls, like that is a beautiful outfit, or where did she get those shoes or something but --
PHILLIPS: If you don't get what you want, does it drive you crazy if you don't get it?
WARMUS: No, I wouldn't say it would drive me crazy, but I'll be persistent. I'm persistent.
PHILLIPS: Certainly persistent in researching and meticulously gathering new information for an appeal called a 440. A plea to re- examine the case based on new evidence.
PHILLIPS: Are you a killer?
WARMUS: No, definitely not a killer. I don't even like to kill little bugs. I take the spiders and put them outside the window at home. I can't do that anymore, but the windows are closed.
PHILLIPS: So who do you think would want Betty Jeanne dead?
WARMUS: Honestly, for the life of me, I could not imagine Paul being involved in this. I couldn't. Because just like he had said to me, he could divorce her in a couple of years.
PHILLIPS: But during the first trial, the defense raised suspicions about Paul Solomon's involvement, and Warmus's new appeal cites police reports of life insurance policies taken out on Betty Jeanne.
PHILLIPS: Would Paul Solomon want to kill his wife for money?
LENIHAM: I am not saying that Paul Solomon or Vincent Parco pulled any triggers. I just don't think they're pristine, clean, and unadulterated in this action. PHILLIPS: Paul Solomon always denied involvement in his wife's death.
What's more, Solomon and private investigator Vincent Parco testified they couldn't have framed Carolyn, because they didn't know each other. Warmus's lawyer, James Leniham who observed both of Carolyn's trials as a law student says there's evidence in the 440 that suggests they did know each other.
PHILLIPS: What's that evidence?
LENIHAM: Well, you have neighbors who allegedly have seen Vincent Parco in that area around the apartment. The stories that were given by Mr. Parco and Mr. Solomon don't always add up.
PHILLIPS: Vincent Parco sold Carolyn Warmus a gun. She was convicted of murder. What else is there?
LENIHAM: Who said Vincent Parco sold her the gun?
PHILLIPS: He said it.
LENIHAM: And he is the paragon of truth, right?
PHILLIPS: Parco story has grown since he took the stem last year. And remember, both Parco and Solomon were granted immunity for their testimony.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As I remember the evening that is not the way it transpired.
PHILLIPS: But why did they receive immunity in the first place? A prosecutor declined comment, but Professor Bennet Gershman said immunity is up to a prosecutor's discretion.
GERSHMAN: Immunity forces people to testify, but they're testifying knowing they're not in trouble. Sometimes prosecutors give immunity to the wrong people.
PHILLIPS: Gershman is an author of a textbook, prosecutorial misconduct.
GERSHMAN: There are people in jail around the country who are innocent.
PHILLIPS: He thinks Warmus maybe one of them. He thought Jeffrey Deskovic was and he was right.
DESKOVIC: I spent 16 years in prison for a murder and rape which I did not commit. I was wrongly imprisoned before ultimately being exonerated by DNA testing ten years ago.
PHILLIPS: Deskovic successfully sued multiple investigators and prosecutors who had a hand in his wrongful conviction.
DESKOVIC: I brought lawsuits in state and federal courts. The medical examiner later admitted in the course of a lawsuit that the slides he performed the basis of his findings didn't actually exist. [22:50:07] PHILLIPS: The same medical examiner in the same crime lab
who determined the time of Betty jean Solomon's death.
DESKOVIC: First the death occurred between 2:00 and 6:00. When it's shown that she has a total place that she is from 2:00 to 6:00. They changed it to seven something.
PHILLIPS: The medical examiner testified the change three months after the murder was based on new evidence, but it was a change that shifted the spotlight to Carolyn Warmus and helped Paul Solomon with his alibi, according to the 440.
GERSHMAN: His alibi is that he was bowling. He was only there for three minutes. Their neighbors that made statements to the effect that they saw him there during that period of time, quarter to 7:00.
PHILLIPS: In their appeal, Warmus' legal team points to three cases where misconduct was proven to have occurred. All of them involved evidence tampering at the same lab that handled Betty Jeanne Solomon's case. The Westchester crime lab didn't respond to our request for comment. And most damningly, the 440 cites documents Carolyn was legally entitled to and never received. Documents that could, quote create reasonable doubt and show the possibility of a conspiracy to wrongfully convict Carolyn. Critical information Warmus' lawyer wished the jury had heard.
LENIHAM: I think if they knew everything that there is to know now, none of those people would vote the same way, none of them.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Convicting the defendant Carolyn Warmus --
PHILLIPS: When we come back, Carolyn Warmus for the first time up for parole.
Do you ever think you are going to leave this prison?
[22:56:06] PHILLIPS: Carolyn Warmus was only 28 when she was found guilty of shooting her lover's wife nine times. Now 53, she has spent almost her entire adult life in prison. Wrongfully convicted, she says, and framed for a murder she never committed.
Carolyn Warmus, did you murder Betty Jean Solomon?
WARMUS: Of course not, of course not.
PHILLIPS: Since 1989, Warmus has never wavered from her story. She has researched and filed for documents and evidence she says would clear her name.
GERSHMAN: There is nothing more difficult than being able to show that you're innocent after you've been convicted by a jury. All you can do is try to show that there were serious errors in the trial or you can show maybe that there's new evidence and that new evidence is still important that it might be able to show that you were wrongfully convicted.
PHILLIPS: As for parole, she had her shot for the first time earlier this year. She didn't get far with that either.
Why not go before the board and say, I'm sorry. I show remorse.
WARMUS: Well, I mean, I just feel so strongly that I want my name back as much as I can get it back. I was an elementary schoolteacher. I was a good person. I would at least like to go forward with some sort of a life. And at least hopefully not have a murder conviction on my record.
PHILLIPS: Warmus' attorney still believes she may have a chance.
Remember that glove found in Paul Solomon's closet that was never tested for DNA but a key factor in the jury's conviction?
LENIHAM: DNA is now something looked at consistently as an opportunity for someone who propounds their innocence.
PHILLIPS: It could all come down to that glove?
LENIHAM: It could all come down to that glove.
PHILLIPS: And time has never been more important. Warmus has been diagnosed with a brain tumor. During our interview, she was often confused.
WARMUS: If you -- let me start this whole answer again. Can you ask the question again?
WARMUS: The brain tumor, the brain is going and it's going that fast so can you repeat the question for me.
PHILLIPS: It's ok. And I totally understand and you're dealing with that and you're set to have surgery soon?
WARMUS: I'm trying to postpone it as much as I can and try to get out and have it.
PHILLIPS: She is clear about some things, wanting to have the surgery outside the system closing this shackled chapter of her life.
If Paul Solomon could be sitting in this seat right now, what's the one thing you'd want to say to him?
WARMUS: I really don't think about him that much. If I could tell to him, please tell the truth now. If I thought all of a sudden he would go and say, oh, Mr. Policeman, you got the wrong person, I would do it in a heartbeat.
PHILLIPS: A haunted woman who now wishes she had never met that charming, married man all those years ago. WARMUS: I am a victim. I'm the collateral damage. I'm sitting here
in prison for 25 years and may end up dying shortly in prison and not see the light of day again.