HOUSTON – The trial for a man accused of fatally shooting Harris County sheriff’s deputy Sandeep Dhaliwal during a traffic stop in northwest Harris County three years ago began Monday.
Robert Solis, 50, fired his attorney, Allen Isbell, hours before the trial began and said he would represent himself.
“Mr. Solis will represent himself,” Isbell said. “The court has examined him and found that he has sufficient knowledge and capability and has granted that motion, which is his right under the constitution.”
When asked why Solis wanted to represent himself, Isbell said he had “his own reasons.”
Solis was charged with capital murder in connection with the slaying of Dhaliwal and his trial began with opening statements and testimonies, according to court officials.
Investigators said Dhaliwal stopped a vehicle with two people inside in the 14000 block of Willancy Court at around 1 p.m. on Sept. 27, 2019, when one of the people, identified by authorities as Solis, got out of the vehicle during the stop and shot the deputy from behind at least twice, investigators said. The deputy died after being taken to a hospital.
Solis was sentenced to more than 20 years in prison for aggravated kidnapping in 2002, but he was released on parole in 2014. He was to remain on parole until 2022. His bond was revoked.
A 10-year veteran of law enforcement, Dhaliwal, 41, joined the Harris County Sheriff’s Office in 2008 as a detention officer and became a deputy four years later. Dhaliwal is survived by his wife and three children.
In 2015, Dhaliwal made history when the HCSO allowed him to keep his beard and wear a dastaar (turban) while on patrol — a requirement of his Sikh religion. He became the first HCSO deputy to be allowed to wear a turban and articles of the Sikh faith, while on duty. With the help of the Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund, Dhaliwal helped change the department’s policy and make it more inclusive.
The trial is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. KPRC 2 will have more updates as they become available.