CRIME WATCH FOLLOWUP: West Seattle murderer gets 31-year sentence

A guilty plea and sentencing have closed the case on West Seattle’s first 2020 murder, the killing of 41-year-old Jana Layman in her Junction-area home. Her then-roommate Solomon Whitt, now 26, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder as well as to child-rape and child-pornography charges that resulted from discoveries made during the investigation. Last Friday, according to court documents, King County Superior Court Judge Douglass North sentenced Whitt to 31 years and two months – top of the standard sentencing range – for the murder, and concurrent sentences from six to 23 years for the other charges. As reported here after he was charged in January 2020, Whitt said he attacked the victim after she asked him to move out, and tried to make her death look like an accident.

11 Replies to "CRIME WATCH FOLLOWUP: West Seattle murderer gets 31-year sentence"

  • Mark47n June 15, 2021 (5:58 pm)

    The concurrent serving sentences for the child rape and child porn charges irritate me. These should be consecutive.        

    • Ann H June 15, 2021 (8:56 pm)

      I agree. These are separate issues and deserve separate sentences. *No amount of time* (restitution) brings back the lost life (Jana) nor repairs the child/children who were raped and molested. The child/childeen are serving “life” sentence(s). Soloman Whitt should be serving a life sentence that matches the child/children’s.

    • wscommuter June 15, 2021 (9:16 pm)

      While I haven’t seen the charging documents, I suspect the reason for concurrent sentences is because the judge wasn’t allowed by statute  – only certain (most serious) violent felonies are eligible for consecutive sentences – blame the legislature if you’re unhappy with that.  The judge could only impose what the sentencing statute permitted (and did so, in imposing the top of the standard range).  

  • Flo B June 15, 2021 (6:43 pm)

    WSB. Were there ever any updates on the Beach Drive murder of Greggette Guy?

    • WSB June 15, 2021 (7:18 pm)


  • Armchairprosecuter June 16, 2021 (1:46 am)

    A lot of people get frustrated when these concurrent sentences are handed down. Ask themselves what is the point?  Look at them as a Parole Blocker. This will guarantee he gets his full sentence.

    • wssz June 16, 2021 (6:11 am)

      I sure hope that’s true.  How does a concurrent sentence guarantee that he’ll be required to serve the full 31 years + 2 months without possibility of parole? 

      • wscommuter June 16, 2021 (11:27 am)

        There is no “parole” in Washington – it was abolished in 1982 when the Sentencing Reform Act was adopted.  Part of that statute includes the portions dealing with when concurrent versus consecutive sentences are allowed.  As for how much time this knucklehead will serve on the 31 year imposed – he will be eligible to earn a maximum of 1/6 off of his sentence (the maximum allowed for “serious violent” offenses, as defined by the SRA).  So, in theory, he could be out in about 25 years, but no sooner than that.  

        • ACG June 16, 2021 (9:22 pm)

          Thanks, WSC for always jumping in and clarifying these legal sentencing guidelines. Just my personal opinion, but I wish this monster would be serving more than just the 31 years (much less the possibility of only serving 25). Jana was a wonderful, giving, caring person. She was an amazing mom, and those kids had their mother taken away from them – never to return. The other concurrent charges make my stomach turn even more. The thought of him maybe being potentially out in 25 years makes me sick. It sounds like the judge did the most that he could, but still….

        • wssz June 16, 2021 (10:45 pm)

          Thank you for responding to my question. Jana’s mother is a dear friend so I really appreciate  knowing more about how this works. Nothing will heal these deep wounds. But it’s good to know that  he won’t be able to harm anyone else for at least 25 years. 

  • Scubafrog June 16, 2021 (12:46 pm)

    I believe any degree of murder deserves life without community corrections supervision (the exact same thing as parole in WA).  Moreover I believe if someone commits a sex offence, they deserve life without parole.RIP Lana Layman, and I so hope the child victim is able to return to health via therapy.  PS may Justice find Gregette Guy’s murderer someday, and put him/her behind bars.

Sorry, comment time is over.