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LOVERS OF DECEIT by Mike Gallagher


Carolyn Warmus and the 'Fatal Attraction' Murder

by Mike Gallagher

Pub Date: June 1st, 1993
ISBN: 0-385-41684-9
Publisher: Doubleday

A convoluted, behind-the-scenes look at the Westchester County murder case that titillated tabloid readers with its purported parallels to the Hollywood shocker Fatal Attraction. Told by a reporter who covered the case for the Westchester Gannett newspaper chain, this overextended narrative features a trio of adulterers, an heiress-turned-murderer, shady p.i.s, and cops of staggering incompetence: sleaze and slapstick in the suburbs. In the late 80's, 25-year-old Carolyn Warmus, a computer instructor in Pleasantville, New York, was engaged in a torrid affair with married fellow-teacher Paul Solomon—whose wife, Betty Jeanne, was also having an affair. Despite having slept with several married men, Warmus became obsessed with Solomon and talked continually of marrying him—but he sidestepped commitment. When, in January 1989, Betty Jeanne was shot dead while home alone, suspicion centered on her husband, whose alibi was quickly proved false—at the time of the death, he actually had been on his way to a steamy rendezvous with Warmus. A report eventually surfaced that Warmus had recently purchased a handgun and silencer from a tawdry p.i. she'd hired to track another lover, but the gun was never found and the police investigation dragged on. Meanwhile, Solomon avoided Warmus and, less than six months after his wife's death, took up with another woman. Warmus lost control, dogging Solomon and his new love to Puerto Rico and harassing friends and relatives of the pair with threatening phone calls. Finally, Warmus was charged with Betty Jeanne's murder, largely on circumstantial evidence. The first trial ended in a hung jury but, in a retrial, the accused was found guilty. She's now serving a 25-year-to-life sentence. Overly detailed with legal technicalities, and the portrait of the spoiled and sociopathic Warmus remains vague and uninflected. Of interest, then, mostly for its revelations about police fumbling of the case. (Eight pages of b&w photographs—not seen)