HOUSTON, Texas — The accused executioner of a Harris County Sheriff’s Office deputy is getting more trial delays and will not be standing any time soon. His lawyer says he is still mentally incompetent.
It will be at least 45 more days before the issue of defendant Shannon J. Miles’ mental competency and his ability to stand trial will come before the judge again.
On August 28, 2015, Harris County Deputy Sheriff Darren Goforth walked out of a convenience store to his patrol car and was gunned down by a man who snuck up behind him in the dark. The officer was shot 15 times in the head and back.
“It is one of the most disturbing videos I have seen in more than forty years of police work,” Harris County Sheriff Ron Hickman told Breitbart Texas. “As Deputy Goforth walked out of the store, the man we now know as Shannon Miles walked up behind him and shot him in the head and back.”
“Looking back a year ago,” Sheriff Hickman said, “We saw a disturbing trend in anti-police sentiment. This has proven to be the case in this shooting and all across the country. No other motivation has been found for Goforth’s execution.”
Deputy Darren Goforth with his wife and two children. (Facebook photo)
Shannon Miles was indicted for capital murder of a police officer on November 23, 2015. He has not been ruled competent to stand trial and there have been numerous delays. Breitbart Texas reported on December 23, 2015 that lawyers for Miles filed a motion asserting their client was incompetent to stand trial.
Breitbart Texas was on the scene of the shooting within one-hour of Goforth’s murder. During overnight coverage of the shooting, Breitbart Texas followed deputies to the home of Shannon Miles where his mother was overheard telling deputies, “My son would never do this.”
Police Lives Matter sign with the “Thin Blue Line” emblem on display during the vigil. (Photo: Breitbart Texas/Bob Price)
The judge in the Miles capital murder case, Harris County Judge Susan Brown of the 185th District Court, signed an order on January 5, 2016, granting a motion for psychiatric examination.
The order provided that the Harris County Forensic Psychiatric Services would conduct a psychiatric examination of Miles to determine his competency. It was ordered that the examination report be filed with the court on or before February 9.
Shannon Miles will not stand trial unless he is found legally competent to do so. He received a delay from standing trial in February when it was determined that he would be sent to a state hospital for 120 days. There have been delays in him getting to the state hospital because a bed was not available. He was sent there with the intent for him to receive treatment and to restore his competency.
The criminal trial was postponed again in late September when Miles’ lawyers received another two month delay for further competency evaluation, as reported by Breitbart Texas.
Judge Susan Brown reset the accused cop-killer’s case again on Wednesday.
“We don’t believe he’s competent,” Houston lawyer Anthony Osso was reported by the Houston Chronicle to say.
When Miles received the delay in February, the Harris County Sheriff’s Office issued a statement saying, “The Harris County Sheriff’s Office learned today that State District Judge Susan Brown committed Shannon Miles to a Vernon state mental hospital for 120 days.This individual was responsible for the killing of Harris County Deputy Darren Goforth.”
“We are disappointed by the news, but remain hopeful that the State will restore Shannon Miles’ competency promptly so justice can be sought. It is a tragic reminder that we lost Deputy Goforth to an individual whose only apparent motive was that Darren wore the uniform of a law enforcement officer.”
Defense lawyers have asserted that Miles has a history of mental illness and has been previously found incompetent to stand trial in an unrelated criminal proceeding. Breitbart Texas reported in late August that Miles had been found incompetent to stand trial in a 2012 assault case in Austin, Texas. The charges were later dropped.
Miles’ defense lawyers have also pointed to a competency report of defense counsel’s psychiatric expert dated December 20, 2015 detailing the findings of an extensive evaluation. They said that Miles has been diagnosed as suffering with schizophrenia and “the report concludes with a reasonable degree of medical probability that the defendant is presently incompetent to stand trial.”
Lana Shadwick is a contributing writer and legal analyst for Breitbart Texas. She has served as a prosecutor and associate judge in Texas. Follow her on Twitter @LanaShadwick2.