By Kent Larsen
Solomona Sentence Reversed, Family Seeking Bail
BUENA PARK, CALIFORNIA -- In a surprising turn of events, the
conviction of Peter Solomona for fatally shooting the teenager who
stole a plastic pumpkin from his yard in October 1999 was reversed
Friday by the trial court judge. The reversal left Solomona's family
scrambling to come up with $25,000 to get their father and
grandfather released from jail pending a new trial in April. The
judge ruled that he hadn't adequately instructed the jurors on the
However, the family doesn't hold out much hope in the retrial after
the judge made a statement Friday that Solomona's story was
"unbelieveable" and that he is "guilty of some crime." Solomona, a
grandfather and LDS Church member, claims that the shooting was an
Solomona was scheduled to be sentenced last Friday, following his
conviction last December, when Judge John J. Ryan made his surprise
ruling. Solomona's son, Leland, 21, told the Orange County Register
Saturday that while the family had some hope, they realized chances
of Peter Solomona's acquittal were very slim. "It's still an uphill
battle," Leland Solomona said. "We got a break (Friday) night. It
ain't over, and we ain't celebrating yet." He said that the family
hopes to spend time with their father and grandfather, who faces 15
years to life in prison should he be convicted. He said the family's
plan was to "be with him and get as much good memories with him," he
said. "Sometimes memories is all you got."
Leland Solomona also expressed the family's regret for the death of
17-year-old Brandon Ketsdever, the youth killed in the incident. "A
million times I have put myself in their shoes, and I feel for them,"
he said. "But they look at my dad as a cold-blooded killer. ... We're
terribly sorry for this incident, but he is not fully to blame."
Leland says the family continues to put their faith in God. "The best
we could do is hope and pray, and (God) came through yesterday in a
very big way," he said.
Family tries to raise bail after verdict is reversed
Orange co CA Register 25Feb01 D2
By Vik Jolly: The Orange County Register
JUSTICE: 'We ain't celebrating yet,' son says, as relatives seek $25,000 to free Solomona until his retrial.
After 14 Months Of Silence, Solomona Tells His Story