Posted For: firemedic5100 FJB!
HARRIS COUNTY, Texas — The man who killed a Harris County Sheriff’s Office deputy was found guilty of capital murder on Monday in front of a packed courthouse full of law enforcement personnel, including Sheriff Ed Gonzalez, members of the Sikh community as well as Deputy Sandeep Dhaliwal’s family members.
The jury took less than 30 minutes to return the verdict. The sentencing phase of the trial is now underway.
Robert Solis, 50, killed Dhaliwal during a traffic stop in 2019.
Solis chose to represent himself after firing his attorneys at the beginning of the trial. Late last week, Solis attempted to have the judge in his case removed.
“I stand before you an innocent man,” Solis said in his opening statement. “I believe I’ll be able to show I had no intention of killing this man.”
On Monday, Solis took the stand and admitted that he shot Dhaliwal.
“I shot him,” Solis said.
He went on to explain what he remembers, although he admitted that some of it was a “blur.”
Prosecutors said Solis told them that he ran up to Dhaliwal, shoved him against his car and shot him in the head. He admitted to giving the deputy a false name when he was pulled over. A passenger testified that Solis said, “I am not going back to jail,” before he killed Dhaliwal.
“Yeah, I lied. I wasn’t 100% truthful. I had a warrant for my arrest. But that’s not a reason to jump out of the car and cold-bloodily kill someone,” Solis said.
He also said he threw the gun in a trash can so he “wouldn’t have a weapon” on him.
Before his guilty verdict was announced, Solis asked Judge Chris Morton to consider lesser offenses such as criminally negligent homicide and manslaughter.
Just before closing arguments, Solis also asked to withdraw himself from the case and asked for an appointed council again.
“We already had a hearing on this where you waived your right. I believe this request is to delay and disrupt the proceedings. Request denied at this time. I’ll reconsider if it becomes pertinent based on the jury’s verdict,” Morton said.
During closing arguments, Solis took responsibility for the crime.
“It was not my intention that day to have that interaction at all with that man,” he said.
He pleaded with the jury before they made their decision.
“These people are trying to kill me,” Solis said. “I’m putting my life in your hands. That’s why I’m standing here now.”
The prosecution painted Solis as a killer during closing arguments.
“That man decided to kill Deputy Dhaliwal because he was not going back to jail. It’s as simple as that,” a co-prosecutor said.
During the trial, Solis was admonished several times for failing to follow legal procedures.
“I cannot allow you to have special privileges merely because you represent yourself,” Morton said.
The jury had to be excused several times in just half an hour as the judge worked out issues with Solis.
At one point, Dhaliwal’s relatives stepped out of the courtroom when pictures were shown.
Dhaliwal was a trailblazing deputy who wore his turban and beard as a part of his Sikh religion.