OAK PARK – He may not be as familiar as some other notorious serial killers such as Ted Bundy or John Wayne Gacy, but many in Sacramento’s Oak Park will never forget the name Morris Solomon, Jr.
First-time author Antonio Harvey brings the killer back to the forefront with his new book, “The Homicidal Handyman of Oak Park: The Sexual Crimes and Serial Murders of Morris Solomon, Jr.” Harvey, who penned the book under the name Tony Ray Harvey, held a book signing recently at Underground Books. The bookstore is just blocks from where some of Solomon’s victims were unearthed from homes he worked on as a handyman in the 1980s.
Though he maintains his innocence to this day, Solomon was convicted of killing six women, many of whom were prostitutes or involved with drugs at the height of the crack epidemic that gripped Oak Park.
Harvey discussed the gruesome findings, the investigation that led to Solomon, and the path that led him to writing about the killer. Harvey, a staff writer for the Sacramento OBSERVER and a freelance writer for the Associated Press, spoke of the years of research he conducted for the book and what it was like interviewing the condemned killer at San Quentin Prison.
Two years before publishing the true-crime novel, Harvey was featured talking about the case and his impending book on the documentary “Crime Stories,” which aired on the Biography Channel.
A large crowd came out for the book signing. Visitors included John Cabrera, a lead detective who worked the Solomon case in Sacramento; Howard DeSart, a retired detective from Santa Clara County, who investigated Solomon in relation to the murder of a San Jose woman in 1974; and LaSheena Washington-Motley, the grown daughter of one of the victims, Cherie Sullivan-Washington, written about in the book. Ms. Washington-Motley was four years old when her mother was murdered. Harvey said he made a concentrated effort to not forget the victims, in the telling of Solomon’s story.
“The Homicidal Handyman of Oak Park” is available at Underground Books and on Amazon.com.
By GENOA BARROW
OBSERVER Senior Staff Writer