“It was me.”
Nearly two years after the slaying of Hall County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Nicolas Blane Dixon, accused triggerman Hector Garcia-Solis took the stand to tell the jury he fired the fatal shot from a .45 caliber handgun.
“Were you in the courtroom earlier when the video from Deputy Dixon’s body cam was played?” defense attorney Matt Cavedon asked.
“Yeah,” Garcia-Solis said while sniffling.
“Who was that on the back corner of the house?”
“It was me.”
“And who was it that shot that handgun?”
“It was me.”
“Are you admitting to this jury that you took Deputy Dixon’s life?”
“Yeah, like I said, you gotta confess to your sins. I hurt a family. I hurt friends. I hurt his brothers and sisters, something I never wanted to do and I never would do.”
But while he admits to being in the videos shown during the trial, he said he doesn’t remember much from that night.
“But you don’t remember why you took Blane Dixon’s life on July 7, right?” Chief Assistant District Attorney Wanda Vance asked Garcia-Solis.
“I wish I knew,” the defendant said.
“You don’t remember why you fired on him first and fired five times?”
“I wish I knew.”
Garcia-Solis was the last witness on the stand in a murder trial that has seen six days of evidence presented against him along with co-defendants London Clements, 18, and Eric Velazquez, 19.
A fourth man, Brayan Cruz, 19, had his case severed from the other three suspects but testified for the prosecution last week.
Cavedon called his client to the stand after 2 p.m. Tuesday, June 29.
Cavedon asked his client if he was in the videos of the burglaries shown during the trial.
“So Hector, would it be fair to say that you committed the burglaries that have been presented into evidence this week?” Cavedon asked.
“I take responsibility for it, yeah. I mean, I did the sin. I gotta confess to the sin,” Garcia-Solis said.
Cavedon asked if while committing burglaries and carrying a firearm if he had any intention to “hurt anybody.”
“No, like I said, I ain’t trying to have no blood on my hands,” Garcia-Solis said. “You know, I mean I lost somebody before and it didn’t feel good. I still think about it to this day.”
When asked why he would carry a gun if he didn’t think he would meet anybody inside the businesses during the early morning hours of July 6, 2019, Garcia-Solis said it was to “look tough.”
The defendant said the reason for taking the guns was to make “easy money,” and that he had no intention to “shed blood.”
“If I was ever with somebody that would want to, like a homeboy of mine or a friend of mine, I’d set them straight,” Garcia-Solis said.
He told Vance that Velazquez was involved in the burglaries for which they were co-indicted, including pawn shops and car dealerships.
The two were also accused of entering a DeKalb County crime scene van the same day as the burglaries. Gainesville Police said items stolen from the van included panels for a bulletproof vest, a utility belt, a baton, a flashlight and other police paraphernalia.
When asked by Vance how they found the van, Garcia-Solis said the truck they were in ran out of gas, so they parked in the apartment complex and were trying to “carhop,” meaning find another vehicle to take.
Garcia-Solis told Vance he would have run if he had encountered someone during the burglaries
“And yet you want to have a gun out so you can look tough, that was your testimony, right?” Vance asked
“Yes ma’am,” Garcia-Solis said.
“But yet you’re trying to explain to this jury you just want to look tough but you don’t want anyone to ever know it’s you going into that business, right?” Vance asked, and Garcia-Solis agreed.
The prosecution asked numerous questions relating to Garcia-Solis’ shaky memory, eliciting responses including that Garcia-Solis claimed he didn’t remember Dixon giving commands the night of the shooting.
“So if London had texted you and said I want to get guns like you guys did. I want to go hit a lick. You wouldn’t remember that, would you?” Vance asked.
“Nah, I don’t even know why I would say yeah considering the streets were hot, or hot like a lot of cops were out considering the burglaries that we did on the other days,” Garcia-Solis said.
Garcia-Solis has also claimed that there is “no crew” as has been described by the prosecution.
“Like I said, I don’t ride like that,” Garcia-Solis said.
“There’s no crew, but they are your boys, right?” Vance asked.
“They’re my boys, but I don’t ride with my boys like that, like I said.”
Law enforcement officers previously testified about placing tracking devices on the stolen car chased by Dixon the night of the shooting.
Vance walked Garcia-Solis through a list of questions trying to establish that it was not Dixon’s fault nor the other officers’ fault for the deputy’s death.
“When the trackers went off on those cars because the cars were driving, they did the right thing by chasing you, didn’t they?” Vance asked.
“I mean, do you really want my point from that?” Garcia-Solis asked in return.
“Yeah, I kinda do, actually,” Vance replied.
“From that thrift store there is a gas station over here, and they could have set up a van that had tinted windows, been looking from that van, and once they saw us come into the cars, they could have done something about it instead of letting us drive around.”
No further evidence was presented after Garcia-Solis testified, and the jury was released just before 5 p.m. Tuesday. Superior Court Judge Jason Deal told the jury to return at 9:30 a.m. to hear closing arguments.
This article originally published in our sister paper the Gainesville Times.