On Monday, Shannon J. Miles, the man charged with the murder of Harris County Deputy Darren Goforth, was found mentally incompetent to stand trial.
One of his two court-appointed attorneys, Charles Brown, told the Houston Press that mental health experts agreed that Miles suffered from schizophrenia, and that he will be sent to a state hospital within the next 100 days.
“We were unable to talk to him in any coherent manner,” Brown said, “or in a manner that would be beneficial to both of us so that he fully understands what's really going on and we fully understand everything about his case from his perspective.”
Last August, Miles was accused of shooting Goforth 15 times in the back while Goforth stopped to fill up his police cruiser at a gas station. He was charged the next day after police located his red pickup, which was spotted on surveillance footage, at Miles's house and then found the gun prosecutors allege was used to kill Goforth.
Before then, records show, Miles had a history of mental illness and had been found incompetent to stand trial in 2012 for other charges. After getting in a fight at an Austin-area homeless shelter over a remote control, he was charged with aggravated assault, found mentally incompetent and then sent to a state hospital.
He also has a long criminal history in Harris County, including criminal mischief, trespassing, evading detention, resisting arrest and failure to identify to a police officer. Officials have pointed to “retaliation” against the police as the alleged motive in the crime. At a press conference following the shooting last year, Sheriff Ron Hickman linked the murder to “dangerous national rhetoric” surrounding Black Lives Matter protests, adding, “it’s unfortunate — there’s not many occupations you can point to where you can be shot for the clothes you wear.”
Brown said it could take six months to a year before a court date is scheduled in Miles's case — and that's only if he's restored to competency at the state hospital. He will be evaluated again in 120 days. If he's not found competent at that point, Brown said, extensions can be granted.
“It's a very long, long process,” he said. “What we've asked people to do from the very beginning is just be patient. I don't know how it's going to end, but he will go through this system with people who care about whether or not the system treats him fairly."
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.