Father of fugitive LAPD rookie seeks release from custody before trial

Father of fugitive LAPD rookie asks a federal judge to release him on bail before his trial begins next month

The father of Henry Solis -- the Los Angeles Police Department rookie charged with killing a man in downtown Pomona this spring before fleeing to Mexico -- is asking a federal judge to release him on bail before his trial next month over whether he lied to investigators who were trying to track down his son.

Attorneys representing Victor Solis, 52, have filed a motion requesting U.S. District Judge Philip Martinez in Texas, where the elder Solis is being held, to void a prior detention order and grant his release, according to papers filed last month.

His son, Henry Solis, is accused of fatally shooting Salome Rodriguez Jr. in the predawn hours of March 13, according to an affidavit. Afterward, he allegedly called his father, dumped his Volkswagen Jetta and rode with his father to El Paso. Henry Solis has not been seen since. 

Victor Solis was arrested nearly two weeks later and charged with lying to federal agents after his explanation of events -- that he dropped his son off at an El Paso bus station -- was found to be untrue, prosecutors said. Video footage at the border crossing showed Victor Solis in khakis and a cowboy hat walking alongside his son into Mexico.

In a seven-page motion, Victor Solis’ public defenders argue that he has had no criminal record since becoming a permanent resident of the U.S. in 1988 and that if released, he would not want to imperil his prospects to remain a lawful resident.

The attorneys portray Solis as an ailing grandfather with deep ties to the U.S. -- before allegedly escorting his son across the border, he had not visited Mexico since 1985 -- and a strong economic incentive to not flee while on bail. A former bus driver for the city of Los Angeles, Solis has been living on disability since a bus accident several years ago left him severely injured, his attorneys said.

Because of his dependence on disability benefits, fleeing “would jeopardize his primary source of support for himself and his wife,” according to Solis’ attorneys.

Federal prosecutors, however, have chafed at the idea of Solis’ release before trial.

In counter arguments filed April 27, prosecutors blame Solis for thwarting the investigation into Rodriguez’s death by lying to federal agents about his son’s whereabouts.

“He lied to help a murder suspect elude law enforcement,” prosecutors said. “While [Solis] may not personally be a threat to the community, [he] has shown a willingness to help those that are threats to the community.”

Oral arguments over Victor Solis’ pretrial release are scheduled for Thursday in the federal courthouse in El Paso. Trial is scheduled for early June.

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