A man was sentenced to death Wednesday for the fatal shooting of a law enforcement officer who was the first Sikh deputy in his Texas agency. A Harris County jury deliberated for about 35 minutes before agreeing on the death sentence for Robert Solis, 50, after convicting him of capital murder on Oct. 17 for killing sheriff's deputy Sandeep Dhaliwal, CBS News reports. According to trial evidence, Solis shot the 42-year-old deputy multiple times during a Sept. 27, 2019, traffic stop in a residential cul-de-sac 18 miles northwest of Houston. Dhaliwal was returning to his patrol car when Solis shot him from behind. "The defendant executed a uniformed deputy by shooting him in cold blood in broad daylight. That makes him the worst of the worst, which is why we asked jurors to sentence him to death," said Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg.
Solis represented himself in the trial after firing his three defense attorneys. Prosecutors told jurors that Solis had a lengthy criminal record of robberies and sexual offenses leading up to Dhaliwal's killing. Assistant District Attorney Katie Warren said that Dhaliwal was not just a trailblazer in the law enforcement community but also an exceptional officer. "Deputy Dhaliwal was a pillar of this community, and when it came to law enforcement, he set the bar," Warren said. "His loss is a loss that every single one of us feels. We're glad today that this jury was able to give justice." After joining the force in 2009, Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez's predecessor, Adrian Garcia, implemented a religious accommodation policy that allowed Dhaliwal to wear the traditional turban and beard of the Sikh religion.