A Huntington Station man who strangled his newlywed wife on Christmas Eve in 1987 before dumping her body in a field and reporting her missing has been granted parole, state officials confirmed Monday.
Matthew Solomon, now 54, began serving a prison sentence of 18 years to life after his 1988 conviction in Suffolk County Court for second-degree murder in the slaying of his spouse Lisa Solomon, then 22.
But the state Board of Parole's decision to set him free as early as next month — after more than 31 years of incarceration — has infuriated the victim's mother, Diane Weaver.
“I just want to tell the world that I’m very angry and I just don’t think that justice was served,” Weaver, 86, said in an interview Monday.
The East Northport resident called her former son-in-law a “very dangerous man” and criticized the parole board’s decision, which cited Solomon’s rehabilitation efforts.
“I don’t understand how you rehab a sociopath,” Weaver added of her daughter’s killer. “… The justice system didn’t do its job.”
The mother said she visits the cemetery where her daughter is buried daily and that her family has been unable to celebrate Christmas since her daughter’s slaying.
The Board of Parole turned down Solomon for release seven times in the past after lobbying from the victim’s family.
Now his earliest release date from Otisville Correctional Facility in Orange County is May 14.
Solomon will have to abide by several conditions that will include holding a job or furthering his schooling, not drinking alcohol, taking part in domestic violence counseling and giving his parole officer contact information for any persons with whom he gets involved in a relationship.
“After an extensive and thorough review of the record depicting your 31 plus years of incarceration, after consideration of the statutory factors, the panel has determined your release at this time is compatible with the welfare and safety of the community,” the Board of Parole’s decision says.
It also says Solomon’s behavior “caused the senseless loss of life for your victim and insurmountable pain for her beloved family” and the granting of parole “should not be regarded as undermining your behavior in the instant offense.”
Solomon, then 23, initially reported his wife missing, saying she was depressed about her terminally ill father and went out for a walk but never returned.
He led a search for his wife that included police, firefighters and volunteers. But investigators became suspicious after he made suggestions to his wife’s relatives about the types of place they should search for Lisa.
Her body was discovered on Dec. 30, 1987 and he was arrested Jan. 12, 1988.
In a videotaped confession, Solomon told authorities he and his wife quarreled after a Christmas Eve dinner of lobster and Champagne before they got into a physical struggle and he put his arms around her and squeezed her neck in a chokehold until the life went out of her . He told police he went to a 7-Eleven and bought garbage bags that he used to wrap her body before disposing of it in a nearby field.
Attorney Jeffrey Waller, who represented Solomon during his trial, said Monday in an interview that he was glad his former client was getting out of prison shortly.
The Huntington lawyer said he believed Solomon was entitled to release after serving the time he has behind bars and that he didn't think the man was a danger to society.
At Solomon's trial, Waller argued that the husband didn’t intentionally kill his wife and instead was an “instrument” in a “tragedy.”
But the tragedy never ends for the victim's relatives, the way Lisa Solomon's mother sees it.
"Our family will never, never be the same," she said.