Murder preliminary hearing begins for ex-LAPD officer, retired Marine

Thursday, January 28, 2016
Murder preliminary hearing begins for ex-LAPD officer, retired Marine
Henry Solis stands at a preliminary hearing in Downtown Los Angeles on Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2016, in the murder case of Salome 'Junior' Rodriguez.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The preliminary hearing for a Los Angeles police officer who officials said killed a man in March of 2015 then fled to Mexico began on Wednesday.

Henry Solis stood in shackles in a Downtown Los Angeles courtroom as prosecutors called witnesses to the stand in hopes of trying him for the murder of 23-year-old Salome "Junior" Rodriguez.

At the time, Solis had been with the Los Angeles Police Department for nine months after serving as a U.S. Marine. After Rodriguez's death, officials said Solis fled to Mexico and was a fugitive for two months before being captured.

"I'm angry, I'm sad because I don't have my son," the mother of Salome Rodriguez, Lidia Rodriguez said. "The prayer of our fathers says to forgive Junior in all his words says forgive and forget and I'm asking him should I forgive, I don't know yet."

Cab driver Edward Allen testified about the hours after the incident. He said Solis needed a ride to the club district in Pomona to look for his car. Allen stated Solis seemed disoriented, nervous, had been drinking and talked about how a fellow Marine had committed suicide.

Prosecutors called two witnesses who said they had partied with Salome Rodriguez that evening. They described his mood as upbeat and happy.

The witnesses said they did not see Salome Rodriguez have any verbal disputes or physical fights with anyone else that night.

According to both witnesses, Solis was never at the club or the parking lot when they parted ways with Salome Rodriguez at about 3 a.m.

The defense raised questions about the credibility of one friend who worked at the club as a dancer. Defense attorneys questioned if her memory was clouded by alcohol that evening.

The coroner revealed for the first time that Salome Rodriguez had been shot four times.

Scores of his supporters were present at the courthouse and in tears hearing the troubling testimony. His mother said she is struggling with her faith.

"Can I forgive this person in time? I don't know," she said.

Testimony is slated to continue on Thursday and the prosecution is expected to call 14 witnesses to the stand.