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Morris Solomon, Jr.
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Morris Solomon Jr.
Solomon with his attorney Kenneth Wells, Sacramento County Public DefenderBorn:1944
Albany, GeorgiaKillingsNumber of victims:6-7Span of killings:June 1986–April 1987Country:U.S.State(s):CaliforniaDate apprehended:April 22, 1987Morris Solomon Jr. (born March 15, 1944 in Albany, Georgia) is a convicted serial killer now sitting on death row in San Quentin, California.
edit] Early life
Relatives and friends described Solomon's upbringing in rural Georgia as abusive. He was raised primarily by his grandmother, Bertha, who beat him and his brother daily for infractions such as bedwetting, mispronouncing words, or crying during a beating. Sometimes, she hit them for no apparent reason. When Solomon was very young, Bertha beat him by laying him over her lap and hitting him repeatedly. She also made him remove all his clothing and stand on a stool in the corner, where she beat his bare body, including his genitalia, with an electrical cord or switches she made him bring to her. Bertha sometimes beat him until he bled. Once, she tied his hands around the pole of a bed with an extension cord to keep him from backing away from her during a beating.
Solomon had little contact with his parents for the first 13 years of his life. He was reunited with them when Bertha and the family moved to Isleton, a small farming town 40 miles from Sacramento. They were among a handful of black families living in a poor, rundown section of the town known as “Cannery Row” or “Tinpan Alley.” His parents frequently beat and sexually assaulted one another in front of him. His mother and grandmother often beat him and verbally abused him in public. Friends and relatives would later describe his mother as a “loose woman” who regularly “entertained” different men.
After high school, he attended community college and worked at various jobs, including carpentry, car repair, and bus driving.
He served in Vietnam for one year starting in the summer of 1966. He returned to Isleton after his tour of duty ended in the summer of 1967. During this time, he became engaged to a woman he had known before going to Vietnam. When she broke off the engagement, he relocated to the San Francisco Bay Area, got married, and fathered a daughter. After he and his wife divorced, he moved back to Sacramento.
In April 1977, Solomon was convicted of sexually assaulting Darlene G. While at San Quentin State Prison, where he worked as a forklift operator.
 The murders
According to court documents provided by the Superior Court of California, County of Sacramento (Case No. 84641), Solomon's first victim was Yolanda Johnson (22), found inside a closet of one of his previous residences, on Fourth Avenue in Sacramento, on June 18, 1986, two to three days after he had killed her. One month later, Angela Polidore (25) was found dead, buried underneath debris at another Sacramento home where Solomon worked as a handyman. Solomon was a suspect in both cases but walked away when authorities failed to come up with evidence sufficient enough to get an indictment. The handyman had four outstanding misdemeanor warrants (including one of solicitation of prostitution) when they allowed him to go free.
On March 19, 1987, the body of teenage prostitute Marie Apodoca, was uncovered in the yard of a home in Sacramento's Oak Park neighborhood. Solomon had stayed at the house until November 1986. Another body was found on April 20, when Cherie Washington (26), was found in a shallow grave in the same neighborhood. Solomon was taken into custody on April 22, after two more victims (Linda Vitela and Sheila Jacox) were discovered at his current residence. A seventh victim, 29-year-old Sharon Massey, was found on April 29 in the same yard where Marie Apodoca was found.
Held without bond, Solomon faced seven counts of first-degree murder. Due to the bodies advanced state of decomposition, determining the cause of death proved to be difficult.
 Trial and sentencing
Morris Solomon Jr.'s case failed to gain national attention due to Dorothea Puente. Seven bodies were found in the backyard of Puente's boardinghouse in the downtown Sacramento neighborhood of Alkali Flat on Nov. 11, 1988. Between Solomon and Puente, Sacramento had two serial killers working the city around the same time. Solomon was convicted of killing six of the seven women on August 29, 1991.
During the trial, defense attorneys Peter P. Vlautin III and Constance Gutowsky presented an extensive case in mitigation; 18 witnesses testified over the course of seven days. The defense case largely attempted to show that defendant‟s crimes stemmed from psychopathology born of the abuse he suffered as a child, compounded by his tour of duty in Vietnam and his cocaine use. Clinical forensic psychologist Brad Fisher and clinical psychologist John P. Wilson both testified that the abuse Solomon suffered as a child led to mental, emotional, and behavioral problems that were strongly linked to his crimes.
Solomon's first death penalty phase was declared a mistrial, though a second jury voted unanimous to put him to death in July 1992
Solomon was the 342nd person to receive the death sentence in California, and is now on death row in San Quentin, California. His conviction was affirmed by the California Supreme Court on July 15, 2010.
Antonio "Tony" Harvey, a correspondent for the Associated Press and journalism graduate from Sacramento State University, has completed a detailed true crime novel on Solomon's case. Currently, Harvey's book is titled, "The Homicidal Handyman of Oak Park."
Featuring Antonio "Tony" Harvey, an Associated Press correspondent/author, retired Sacramento police detective John Cabrera and former Sacramento Bee photographer Tom Parker, a 60-minute documentary of Solomon's serial crimes first appeared on the criminal documentary, "Crime Stories" at Discovery Channel and Biography Channel.
- ^ "California Registered Sex Offender Profile - Morris Solomon". Megan's Law - California Sex Offender Registry. http://www.meganslaw.ca.gov/cgi/prosoma.dll?searchby=offe nder&id=1869501900688. Retrieved July 24, 2010.