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Capital Murder Conviction In Killing of Houston Sikh Sheriff's Deputy

Three years after an observant Sikh and sheriff’s deputy in Texas who had received national attention was fatally shot during a traffic stop, a Houston jury convicted a man of capital murder. The jury deliberated less than 30 minutes before finding Robert Solis, 50, guilty in the Sept. 27, 2019, fatal shooting of Sandeep Dhaliwal, a 10-year-veteran of the Harris County Sheriff’s Office who had drawn widespread notice when he gained permission to wear a turban as part of his uniform, the New York Times reports. Prosecutors said that Solis, who had an active parole violation warrant for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon from 2017, was motivated to kill the deputy because he did not want to go back to jail.

The quick verdict ended a weeklong trial in which the defendant chose to represent himself in court even though prosecutors are seeking a death sentence. After firing his court-appointed lawyers before his trial began last week, Solis argued that he had accidentally discharged the weapon. The death of Dhaliwal, 42, a father of three children, stunned the community, where he had been known as a trailblazing deputy who wore his traditional articles of faith, including a turban and a beard, while on patrol. Observant Sikhs wear turbans, covering their uncut hair, as part of their faith. Dhaliwal had made a routine traffic stop and spoke to Solis with no hint of combativeness or argument. Then, as Dhaliwal made his way back to his patrol vehicle, Solis opened his door, ran up to the deputy and shot him in the back of the head.

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A daily report co-sponsored by Arizona State University, Criminal Justice Journalists, and the National Criminal Justice Association

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