March 12, 2001
Alibi stymies homicide investigation
by Jeanette Knutson
The Mike Emert homicide case continues to smolder. And the latest spark to flicker from the embers is Jeffrey John Solo, no longer thought to be a "person of interest."
Emert is the 40-year-old Redmond real estate agent slain on Jan. 4 while presumably showing a Woodinville home to a client. It was thought that Emert had met Solo on Jan. 3 and arranged to show him the very home in which Emert was found dead the next day.
But according to King County Sheriff's Office Sgt. John Urquhart, "We don't believe that [Solo] was part and parcel to the homicide ... He has a very strong alibi for the day before the murder, which we fully believe."
Solo had a doctor's appointment at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Seattle, a fact later confirmed by a physician.
So it was not Solo whom Emert described to his wife and colleagues as a "weird dude in his 50s who used a cane and walked with a limp," who called himself "Steven," was from San Francisco, staying with friends, and who worked as a counselor. It was not Solo, then, who met Emert the day before the vicious killing.
However detectives do not entirely discount Solo's connection to the crime. The number of coincidences that link him to the case are many. His age, cane, limp, profession all line up with Emert's "weird dude" description. Emert's black Cadillac SUV, thought by authorities to have been used as a getaway car, was found in a parking lot in a shopping center in Kirkland frequented by Solo. Too, Solo does have a criminal history, mostly of petty offenses, but he did spend time in prison in the 70s for fraud. And police confirm an ex-girlfriend and supposed former roommate of his was one of Emert's co-workers. Also, it has been reported that a Seattle pawnbroker with whom Emert is associated for some two years is related to Emert through marriage.
"We're still trying to figure out what, if any, connections to the crime Mr. Solo may have had," said Urquhart.
In fact, detectives do not exclude the possibility that the killer "borrowed" Solo's distinguishing characteristics to thread together a persona used to distract authorities.
Killer aside, the victim's vehicle, jewelry, cell phone and wallet missing from the crime scene have lead nowhere. Police are not talking about blood evidence found at the murder site. Nor have they learned much more about the two other persons of interest in the case, the man seen the day before the murder leaving a Redmond house listed for sale and shown by Emert, or the man seen limping and using a cane as he walked away from a black Cadillac Escalade similar to Emert's on Jan. 3 at a Kirkland post office.
Detectives continue to work on the case, trying to kick up some connection that will rekindle new leads.