By Peter Sloggatt
Matthew Solomon has been released from prison.
Solomon was convicted of murdering his newlywed wife on Christmas Eve, 1987. The couple had been married six weeks when he strangled her in their Huntington Station home, then dumped her body in a field off of Oakwood Road in Huntington. Though he initially reported her missing to police, Solomon became a suspect even as he led volunteer search efforts in frigid weather to find his missing wife.
Solomon was released from Otisville Correctional Center in upstate New York this month after serving 31 years of an 18-years-to-life prison sentence.
His release came after a state parole board approved what was his seventh application for parole, and prompted backlash from lawmakers and the family of the victim, the former Lisa Weaver.
Lisa Solomon’s cousin, Steven Klerk discovered her body in a plastic garbage bag during one of those frigid searches. He joined Republican lawmakers and Suffolk Police PBA officials at a May 16 press conference where they blasted what Senate Minority Leader John Flanagan called “a left leaning parole board” for releasing the convicted murderer and others who have recently been paroled.
“Some crimes are so heinous that they become seared in your memory and the murder of Lisa Solomon, a young woman with everything to live for, and who had just gotten married, is one of those events,” Flanagan said. “Matthew Solomon deceived the public when it turned out he threw a beautiful life away like garbage. He deserves to spend the rest of his life behind bars.”
Flanagan raised the alarm over parole granted to two inmates convicted of killing police officers.
“The New York State Parole Board has released a series of murderers, including Matthew Solomon, Judith Clark, who murdered two police officers and a security guard during the 1981 Brinks heist, and Herman Bell, a cop-killer,” Flanagan said in a statement.
“More and more we see a lack of consideration for people like Lisa’s family, those who hurt the most as a result of violent crime, and who are being completely ignored by the parole board... It is our responsibility to give victims a voice and to protect the public from people like Matthew Solomon who should never walk the streets again, as Lisa will never be able to do,” Flanagan continued.
Speaking on behalf of Lisa’s family members – who have opposed Matthew Solomon’s past applications for parole – Klerk said: “Democrats care more about criminals than victims and their families. Murderers and rapists are being released from New York State prisons to live among us under the guise of prison reform.”
Flanagan, the Senate Minority Leader, proposed his own brand of reform. He outlined the minority-proposed Victims Justice Agenda, a package of 11 bills proposed by eight Republican senators to stiffen sentencing and give families a greater voice in parole hearings, among other things.
The bills would impose a mandatory sentence of life without parole for first degree murder convictions or for repeat violent offenders; would require unanimous vote of the parole board to release an inmate; increases the minimum time before which an inmate turned down for parole may make a new application; and give interested parties greater opportunity for input on a parole hearing; among other things.