HOUSTON, Texas — Shannon Miles, the man accused of executing Harris County Deputy Darren Goforth by unloading fifteen rounds into his head and back when at a gas station, will not stand trial until he is found competent to do so.
Mental health experts reported that he is not presently mentally competent to stand trial.
Miles has been charged with the capital murder of a police officer, a charge that could result in the death penalty, or life in prison without parole.
According to the indictment, the motive for the killing of the Houston area deputy was for the deputy’s service as a member of law enforcement, as reported by Breitbart Texas.
Miles is being sent to a state mental hospital for four months to regain his mental health and competency. The defendant charged with capital murder will be tried once mental health experts and the judge are persuaded that he can legally stand trial.
The state hospital in Vernon, Texas, is at maximum capacity and is not able to take Miles at this time. The facility is a maximum security hospital. The four month period will begin when Miles gets a bed at the hospital.
The judge in the 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 defendant Miles to determine his present competency. It was ordered that the examination report be filed with the court on or before February 9.
Breitbart Texas reported on December 23 that lawyers for Miles filed a motion saying their client was incompetent to stand trial.
At that time, his Houston lawyers, Anthony Osso and Charles Brown, said they have been to the county jail on multiple occasions but Miles does not have a sufficient present ability to consult with them with “a reasonable degree of rational understanding.” They urged that Miles lacks a rational and factual understanding of the proceedings against him and is incompetent to stand trial under Texas criminal law.
As evidence, Osso and Brown 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 also pointed to a competency report of defense counsel’s psychiatric expert dated December 20 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.”
Breitbart Texas reported from the scene of the murder and interviewed eyewitnesses in Houston shortly after Deputy Goforth was shot execution-style at the Chevron gas station. The officer was in uniform and was at the station in northwest Houston to put gas in his patrol car.
When Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson read the charges against Miles in court, she said the deputy had been shot fifteen times, as reported by Breitbart Texas.
The Harris County Sheriff’s Office issued a response to the court’s ruling 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.”
Lana Shadwick is a writer and legal analyst for Breitbart Texas. She has served as an associate judge and prosecutor. Follow her on Twitter @LanaShadwick2