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Handyman Arraigned on Charges of Killing Six Women

April 27, 1987

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) _ A 43-year-old handyman hung his head and closed his eyes while being arraigned Monday on charges he murdered six young women, and police said they fear another six missing females may have fallen victim.

Morris Solomon Jr., stood motionless behind a high railing just inside the courtroom, ringed by three bailiffs as Municipal Court Judge John Stroud read the six counts of premeditated murder.

Solomon, who is accused of killing the women and burying their bodies in the yards of homes where he worked, looked up briefly and made his only comment when asked if he could afford his own attorney. ″No,″ he said.

Sacramento County Public Defender Kenneth Wells agreed to represent Solomon, securing a continuation of further proceedings until May 19. A plea to the charges will not be entered until then, Wells said.

District Attorney John Dougherty has said his office will seek the death penalty for Solomon.

Solomon is accused of killing Yolanda Johnson, 22, whose body was found in a bedroom closet of a house June 18; Angela Polidore, whose body was found under debris at another house July 20; Marie Apadoca, 18, found in a grave March 19; and Cherie Washington, 26, found in a grave April 20.

He also has been charged with killing two unidentified females whose decomposed corpses were found last week in graves.

Police said they fear that they may find bodies of six additional victims.

″We still have six missing persons reports that all fit the profile of the victims. For that reason we’re expecting that we’re going to find more, but we don’t know,″ said Sgt. Ronald Meadors, a homicide investigator.

The six known murder victims were found in a low-income neighborhood, three miles southeast of the Capitol, near homes where Solomon lived or worked as a handyman.

The victims were mostly ″of black origin, some with prostitution backgrounds, but most with a drug history involving cocaine,″ according to Police Chief John Kearns.

Police plan to survey possible burial sites Wednesday around homes where Solomon had access. They have hired a helicopter with heat-sensitive infrared cameras that can pick out small variations in temperature from the heat given off by a decomposing body in a grave.

Court and prison records reveal Solomon has been arrested at least 10 times in the last 18 years for sexual assaults and other violent crimes and had spent 2 1/2 years in San Quentin for sex crimes and two years in a state mental hospital as a mentally disordered sex offender.

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