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Young girl testifies in Solomon murder trial

By Vanessa de la Viña, vanessa@kvia.com
Published On: Oct 23 2012 07:54:11 PM CDT
Updated On: Mar 07 2014 01:13:53 PM CST

ABC-7's Vanessa de la Vina reports.

LAS CRUCES, N.M. -

Trapped in a trailer home with a man who just killed the woman she thought of as her mother -- that's what a 14-year-old girl testified on Tuesday morning in Third Judicial District Court in Las Cruces.

The testimony was part of the murder trial of Horace Solomon Jr. 

Solomon is accused of stabbing his ex-wife to death in front of their children.

ABC-7 is not identifying the young girl by the request of the judge.

The girl said the murder itself took just a handful of minutes, but she and two other boys were forced to stay in the trailer for hours with Jenny Bates' body and the man who the girl said killed her.

The girl said she and Bates were watching scary movies in Bates' trailer home with Bates' two sons.

The girl is the daughter of Bates' boyfriend at the time, who also lived in that trailer home.

Police said the boyfriend was not there that night because he was in jail for traffic citations.

"She (Jenny Bates) was scared. You could tell in her voice," the girl said on the stand.

The girl said Solomon forced his way into the trailer when Bates opened the door to let the dogs out. She said Solomon locked the door behind him and grabbed Bates by her hair.

Bates tossed the girl her cell phone and told her to call police, the girl said. Before she could make the call, Solomon took the phone and threw it across the room.

Then the girl said Solomon told her, "Shut up and watch."

The young girl said Bates didn't put up a fight when she was attacked. The girl said Solomon grabbed a knife from the kitchen and stabbed Bates dozens of times.

"He seemed really mad. He kept stabbing her over and over, really fast," the girl said.

The girl said she couldn't believe what she had just seen.

"I was crying to Jenny and asked her to wake up," the girl said.

Bates' and Solomon's two young sons were both asleep in the trailer. The girl said both boys slept through the stabbing because neither she nor Bates screamed.

When it was over, the young girl begged to leave.

"I said, 'Can I call my grandpa please? I won't tell anyone what you did. I just want to go home,'" the girl said.

The girl said Solomon refused to let her leave or call anyone. She said she sat in Bates' bedroom with the two boys wondering if he was going to kill her too.

Family and friends wiped away tears as they watched the young girl tell her story in court.

"It sounded like Jenny was choking on her own blood in the living room. It was a weird noise. He made us sit on the couch and look at her," the girl said.

The girl said Solomon started speaking nonsense as he downed a bottle of vodka he had brought with him.

The girl said that hours later she and one of the boys were finally able to escape when Solomon passed out next to Bates' body.

"She was like my mom. She would always introduce me as her daughter," the girl said on the stand.

District Attorney Amy Orlando asked her, "How did that make you feel?"

"Special," the girl replied.

The defense cross-examined the girl, focusing on two statements she gave police the night of the murder.

The girl said she couldn't remember what she told police back then.

(Oct. 2012 story)

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