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Morris Solomon Jr.

Solomon with his attorney Kenneth Wells, Sacramento County Public Defender
Background information
Born: 1944
Albany, Georgia
Number of victims: 6-7
Span of killings: June 1986–April 1987
Country: U.S.
State(s): California
Date apprehended: April 22, 1987

Morris Solomon Jr. (born 1944 in Albany, Georgia) is a convicted serial killer now sitting on death row in San Quentin, California.


Solomon's history

Morris Solomon was considered a quiet, good-natured carpenter. Few knew he was an ex-con with a history of sexual assaults and violence, leading to his committal as a mentally disturbed sex offender (MDSO). Upon his release from the state mental hospital, Solomon became a handyman repairing old homes around Sacramento, California, in exchange for free room and board. He started killing women along the way.

The murders

The first victim was Yolanda Johnson (22), found inside a closet of one of Solomon's previous residences, on Fourth Avenue in Sacramento, on June 18, 1986, two to three days after he had killed her. Just a 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 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.

Morris Solomon Jr.'s case failed to gain national attention due to a second, more controversial case of serial murder in Sacramento involving serial killer Dorothea Puente. Seven bodies were found in the backyard of Puente's boardinghouse in the downtown Sacramento neighborhood of Aklai 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. His first death penalty phase was declared a mistrial, though a second jury voted unanimous to put him to death in July 1992.

Solomon, a black man, was the 342nd person to receive the death sentence in California and is now on death row in San Quentin, California. The handyman still denies any of the killings.

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.


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