Dep. Sandeep Dhaliwal trial: Jury finds man who defended himself guilty of capital murder

Pooja Lodhia Image
Friday, October 21, 2022
Newly-convicted murderer to jury: 'You should give me death penalty'
It took just 25 minutes for jurors to find the man on trial for killing Deputy Sandeep Dhaliwal guilty. The punishment phase opened with a stunning remark.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The punishment phase got underway Monday afternoon in the capital murder trial of Robert Solis, who was convicted earlier in the day of murdering Harris County Deputy Sandeep Dhaliwal during a traffic stop in September 2019.

Solis started his opening statement in the punishment phase by asking for the death penalty.

"Since you believe I'm guilty of capital murder, I believe you should give me the death penalty," Solis told the jury.

Jurors deliberated for just 25 minutes before finding Solis guilty of capital murder.

WATCH: Guilty verdict read for Robert Solis

A three-year journey for justice reaches an outcome Monday. This video shows the moment Robert Solis, who acted as his own attorney in a weeklong trial, was convicted of a trailblazing Harris County deputy's murder.

Solis, who fired his attorneys and represented himself in the guilt phase of the trial, testified on his own behalf before resting his case.

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

Solis did not have any visible reaction as the verdict was read.

At least 18 deputies were surrounding him.

During his testimony and closing argument of the guilt phase, Solis claimed that the shooting was an accident.

"Because of the position that I had the weapon, I lost control of trying to recover the weapon, I accidentally pulled the trigger and it discharged," he testified to the jury.

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

Solis told jurors he felt like he was "in a movie" when he shot Deputy Dhaliwal.

"It's me in the sense that it's me, but it's not me in the sense of, I mean, I'm looking at myself but I don't see myself," Solis told jurors.

He also claimed Deputy Dhaliwal used "microagressions" during the traffic stop.

Prosecutors argued Solis intentionally and knowingly killed Deputy Dhaliwal.

"This is an act. This is a choice," prosecutor Lauren Bard said. "This is intent, and he comes running up to that man with a gun and he shoves him up against the car."

"No one gets more argumentative or defensive than a narcissist that's being accused of something he definitely did," prosecutor Katie Warren said.

Deputy Dhaliwal's relatives described feeling relieved after the guilty verdict. They, along with multiple deputies, Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez, and former sheriff Adrian Garcia, observed the trial.

Dhaliwal's relatives add that they will be testifying during the punishment phase. In opening statements, prosecutors said they will bring evidence of Solis' lengthy criminal history.

Testimony is expected to last another week.

"We know what were asking you to do, we also know that the evidence supports it and that leaving him anywhere other than death row is too great a risk," Warren told jurors in her opening statement.

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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