Suspect in Deputy Sandeep Dhaliwal's murder demands judge be recused before trial recess

Robert Solis, who is acting as his own attorney, gave a 50-second opening statement before cross-examining two witnesses.

Pooja Lodhia Image
Saturday, October 15, 2022
Defendant acting as own lawyer sets off another murder trial bombshell
Yet another bombshell in the trial of Robert Solis, who is accused of murdering Harris County Deputy Sandeep Dhaliwal.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- There was yet another bombshell in the trial of Robert Solis, accused of murdering Harris County Deputy Sandeep Dhaliwal.

Court is in recess after Solis, who is representing himself in his own capital murder trial after firing his attorneys, is now trying to replace the judge.

SEE MORE: Man accused of killing Deputy Dhaliwal fires his lawyers just prior to capital murder trial

He asked for a recusal Friday, which was a day marked by delays.

Before testimony even started, Solis told the judge he was going to faint because of his poor health.

Judge Chris Morton said Harris County jail officials are responsible for monitoring his health, admonishing Solis.

"Do not attempt to manipulate this court. Do not attempt to manipulate the media present in this court. This is a court of law," Morton told Solis.

Prosecutors rested in the afternoon after four-and-a-half days of testimony, which included showing jurors both dashboard and body camera videos of Deputy Dhaliwal's murder.

During testimony Friday, Solis asked an investigator, "If it was my intent to kill Deputy Dhaliwal, and I had three rounds with me. Why would I wait to get right up behind him?"

SEE ALSO: Dep. Dhaliwal murder suspect cross-examines deputy who arrested him

"You took advantage of the fact that he was solo. You took his kindness for weakness," the investigator answered.

Just before his opening statement, Solis asked for the judge to acquit him. That motion was denied.

His opening statement lasted just 50 seconds, starting with, "I stand before you an innocent man until y'all go back there and deliberate and determine whether or not the state has met its burden on whether I intentionally and knowingly, conscious objective, shot this deputy."

SEE ALSO: Robert Solis capital murder trial: Jurors hear testimony on DNA evidence

Solis appeared to get emotional when he said, "I don't want to take up any more of the family's time, but I believe that I will be able to show that I had no intentions of killing this man."

Then, Solis called up two witnesses. The first was a neighbor who testified Solis called him, admitting to shooting a deputy and asking for a ride.

"I told him he was a dead man and I didn't want anything to do with it," the neighbor testified.

Solis then asked his second witness, "Do you understand they are trying to give me the death penalty? Do you know that?"

Testimony is scheduled to resume Monday morning.

READ MORE: Deputy shooting timeline: What we know about what happened

The sheriff's office says the suspect ran up from behind Deputy Sandeep Dhaliwal and shot him in the back of the head.

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