HOUSTON, Texas – A Harris County Sheriff’s Office veteran homicide investigator has admitted to having sex with a key witness in the Deputy Darren Goforth murder case. The witness is the alleged mistress of the slain deputy who was reported to be at the gas station the night of Goforth’s execution.
In court records obtained by Breitbart Texas, the Harris County District Attorney’s Office filed a public disclosure on Friday afternoon notifying the defense that homicide investigator C. Clopton engaged in consensual sexual conduct with a witness in the Goforth case. The document was signed by Assistant District Attorney Marcy McCorvey.
“I was appalled to learn of this behavior and immediately took action,” Harris County Sheriff Ron Hickman said in a statement obtained Friday afternoon by Breitbart Texas. “The investigator has been relieved of duty pending the outcome of our joint investigation with the District Attorney’s Office.”
The investigator is described in a report from KTRK, ABC13, as being a well-known homicide investigator. Their report states the woman Clopton admitted to having consensual sexual contact with is the same woman who claimed to have had a 15-month affair with Deputy Goforth. Witnesses told Breitbart Texas on the night of the murder they observed a woman at the murder scene, laying over Goforth’s body crying uncontrollably. She was said to have witnessed the shooting.
“This investigator’s conduct was unethical and inexcusable and does not reflect the core values of the Harris County Sheriff’s Office,” Hickman continued in his statement. “The misconduct of this individual investigator is an anomaly and does not represent the conduct of the men and women who work daily to protect the lives of the citizens of Harris County.”
His conduct could; however, have a negative impact on the capital murder trial of Shannon Miles.
Defense attorney Patrick McCann, who is not involved in the case, told KTRK the news of Clopton’s sexual contact with the witness is “significant” and has “foolhardiness written all over it.”
“Whatever truth comes out of this, there needs to be a bias-free investigation and an appearance of a bias-free investigation,” McCann told KTRK’s Ted Oberg and Trent Seibert. “If you have a witness who has a personal stake in this and an investigator who has a personal stake in the witness, any investigation you have is going to be flawed from the outset.”
McCann, a former president of the Harris County Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, was also critical of the sheriff’s office’s decision to investigate the case internally. “I understand the impulse,” he explained, “but there’s no way to get to an objective truth if you’re going to have the agency that has an agenda do the investigation.”
Breitbart Texas’s Lana Shadwick previously reported that defense attorney Anthony Osso intended to use the information about the alleged affair between the witness and Goforth to show that the slain deputy was not actually “on duty” at the time of the murder. If the jury were to buy Osso’s theory, it could mean the difference between the death penalty and life in prison.
“Not all of the facts are out yet, but if the alleged mistress is now alleged to have slept with a deputy who is the murder investigator on the case, this could cut both ways,” Shadwick explained. “The defense is arguing that their client cannot be convicted of capital murder because the deputy was not on duty at the time of his murder. It could undermine her credibility and cast doubt on her statements that she had an affair with Deputy Goforth for 15 months, or it could lend support to that statement. It depends on the other evidence that comes out at the trial and how the particular jury views the evidence.”
Shadwick serves as a legal analyst for Breitbart Texas. She also previously served as a prosecutor and associate judge.
Harris County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Ralph Gonzales told Breitbart Texas the reason Goforth was at the station had no bearing on whether he was “on duty” or not. He said Goforth was in uniform, working a scheduled shift, in a marked patrol unit, in his sector. He was clearly on duty, Gonzales said emphatically.
Sheriff Hickman concluded in his statement, “I remain steadfastly committed to working with District Attorney Devon Anderson in pursuing the successful prosecution of the suspect Shannon Miles.”
Bob Price serves as associate editor and senior political news contributor for Breitbart Texas and is a member of the original Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX.