A former Los Angeles police officer was convicted Wednesday of gunning down a 23-year-old man after picking a fight outside a Pomona bar in 2015, prosecutors said.
A jury deliberated more than two days before finding 32-year-old Henry Solis guilty of second-degree murder with a sentencing enhancement for personally firing the gun that killed Salome Rodriguez Jr., the L.A. County District Attorney’s Office said in a news release.
The defendant will face 40 years to life in state prison at his sentencing, set for March 11, the DA’s office said.
Solis did not show emotion as the verdict was read in a downtown L.A. courtroom. Rodriguez’s mother, Lidia, broke down in tears and said, “We’re blessed,” the Los Angeles Daily News reported.
Prosecutors say Solis chased down and shot Rodriguez after the victim walked past him outside the bar on March 13, 2015.
In court, Solis alleged that Rodriguez had sexually assaulted him in a bar bathroom that night, but no physical evidence of an assault was presented in court, according to the Daily News.
Solis promptly fled to Mexico, where he was eventually arrested after two months on the run. He was a probationary officer at the time of the shooting, but was fired by then-Chief Charlie Beck after being named a suspect in the killing.
The same week charges were filed against Solis, his father Victor was convicted of lying to FBI agents about his son’s whereabouts by a federal jury in Texas. Surveillance cameras had captured the pair crossing into Juarez, Mexico, from El Paso, Texas.
Victor Solis was sentenced to three years’ probation in the case.
Rodriguez’s family has said they were restlessly awaiting justice in the case. Lidia Rodriguez told KTLA last March that she still pays monthly visits the spot where her son died on a downtown Pomona street.
“People say that it gets easier,” she said. “No, it doesn’t get easier.”