The judge in the "Fatal Attraction" murder trial declared a mistrial Saturday when exhausted jurors who deliberated for 11 days sent him a note saying they had been deadlocked for the past week. Prosecutors vowed to seek a retrial.
Westchester County Judge John Carey dismissed jurors in the 14-week trial shortly after 4 p.m., in response to the written message which said not a single juror had changed position on defendant Carolyn Warmus in the past seven days.In the note, the panel begged for a mistrial, declaring it could not persevere weighing the fate of Warmus, a Michigan heiress charged with second-degree murder and illegal weapons possession in the killing of her ex-lover's wife, Betty Jeanne Solomon.
It was the third note in the past four days in which the jury had declared itself deadlocked.
Westchester County District Attorney Carl Vergari said he would seek a new trial "as soon as possible."
But David Lewis, Warmus's trial lawyer, told reporters he asked for dismissal of the charges against her.
In declaring the mistrial, Carey called the panel "a marvelous jury. "
"I am satisfied an agreement amongst you on either of the two charges is unlikely," he said. "This finding provides the basis for my now discharging you. You voted the way you felt was right."
Carey then stepped over to the jury box and shook hands with every juror.
Following the declaration of mistrial, Warmus' ex-lover Paul Solomon, the widower of Betty Jeanne Solomon, sat in a courtroom spectator's seat staring at the carpet, looking drained.
Solomon later made a brief statement as he left the court building. "The issue that was lost in this case was that my wife Betty Jeanne was murdered," he said. "I want people to understand nobody had the right to take Betty Jeanne's life."
Just one juror, Bob Smith, agreed to speak with journalists after the verdict. He said eight jurors had favored convicting Warmus and four had maintained the woman was innocent.
Smith said he believed Warmus was guilty. "Some people would rather put a guilty person on the street than convict someone who might be innocent," he said.
Throughout the trial, jurors appeared concerned about the husband's activities after he left home the day of the murder to rendezvous with Warmus. He said he returned home later and found his wife's body.