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Solomon Found Guilty of Murder

November 19, 1988 GMT

RIVERHEAD, N.Y. (AP) _ A young man accused of strangling his bride after a Christmas Eve argument and leading volunteers on a six-day search for her was found guilty Friday of second-degree murder.

Matthew Solomon, 22, appeared shaken when the Suffolk County jury foreman read the verdict. He was immediately surrounded by about 20 court officers.

His father, Jack, stood up and screamed at Diane Weaver, the mother of victim Lisa Solomon, ″You got your pound of flesh.″

Court officers surrounded him in efforts to calm him but minutes later he stormed from the cramped, four-row courtroom, yelling, ″The lies you’ve been telling will come out.″ Solomon’s mother, Ruth, remained sitting.

But after her son was removed, she collapsed in the courtroom, apparently from an asthmatic attack, and was taken by ambulance to Central Suffolk Hospital.

Outside, as Mrs. Solomon was being put into the ambulance, the defendant’s father shouted: ″My son is the most decent thing on God’s earth and now he has been put in a cage.″

After the verdict, Mrs. Weaver broke into tears and hugged her brother and Lisa’s uncle, Howard Klerk.

Outside court, Klerk, who has been spokesman for Lisa’s family, said that despite the verdict, ″We didn’t win anything. We don’t have Lisa back. We lost. We don’t have our girl.″

Solomon had been charged with two counts of second-degree murder, one intentional and the other showing depraved indifference for human life.

The jury found him guilty of the depraved indifference count. It carries the same maximum sentence as intentional murder, 25 years to life in prison. County Court Judge Harvey Sherman set sentencing Jan. 17.

Solomon, a sheet metal worker, has been held without bail since his arrest Jan. 11.

Both sides in the case agreed that Solomon strangled 22-year-old Lisa, his wife of two months, during an argument following a champagne-and-lobst er dinner in their Huntington Station apartment last Christmas Eve.

They both agreed that Solomon wrapped the body in plastic garbage bags, dumped her body in a farm field and then led volunteers for six days in a search for her.

But the prosecution contended that while Solomon did not scheme to have his wife murdered, he intended to kill her. The defense claimed Solomon accidentally strangled his wife in the heat of an argument and that Solomon’s actions afterward were those of a panic-stricken youth.

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The prosecution centered on medical testimony and Solomon’s videotaped confession to police.

″If Matthew Solomon had released the choke hold when his wife stopped crying or released it when she fell into unconsciousness, Lisa would be alive today,″ Prosecutor Timothy Mazzei told the jury.

Mazzei said that Solomon lied about his wife’s disappearance for 17 days and only admitted to strangling her when he was confronted with evidence linking him to the crime.

Solomon had claimed in the confession that he put his wife’s neck in an armhold to get her to calm down and stop crying during the fight. He said they were fighting because she wanted to leave and he didn’t want her to drive because she had been drinking champagne.

Defense attorney Jeffrey Waller tried during the trial to portray Lisa as a ″spitfire″ who had a hot temper especially when she drank alcohol.

He referred to them as a immature couple, who fell in love, got married and then had problems which ended in tragedy.