HOUSTON (CN) – The attorney for a schizophrenic Texan charged with gunning down a sheriff’s deputy said Tuesday he’s considering an insanity defense because his client remembers nothing from the day of the murder.
Shannon Miles, 32, is facing capital murder charges for the August 2015 killing of Harris County Sheriff’s Deputy Darren Goforth, who was shot from behind as he filled up his cruiser at a Houston gas station.
Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg recently withdrew herself and her office from the case because her chief of staff, former private defense attorney Vivian King, briefly represented Miles’ mother and brother during a grand jury investigation of Goforth’s death.
State District Judge Susan Brown appointed Montgomery County District Attorney Brett Ligon as special prosecutor for the case at a hearing Tuesday, local media reported. Montgomery County is directly north of Harris County, home to Houston.
Prosecutors from neighboring Galveston County will help Ligon with the prosecution, as Ligon told reporters Tuesday his office doesn’t have the resources, Houston’s NPR affiliate reported.
Ligon said he will wait until after Labor Day to decide whether to pursue the death penalty and Judge Brown set a hearing for Sept. 6.
Miles’ attorney Anthony Osso said at Tuesday’s hearing that Miles can’t remember anything from the day of the shooting. Osso told the Houston Chronicle he will meet with experts in May to explore a possible insanity defense.
Miles’ mental illness has delayed the case from the start.
After doctors working for the defense and prosecution found in February 2016 that Miles didn’t understand the charges he’s facing, Brown declared him incompetent and ordered he be sent to a Texas mental hospital.
After waiting for months for a spot to open up at the hospital, Miles finally secured a bed there and got enough treatment to satisfy Brown.
Brown declared him competent to stand trial in early March and he pleaded not guilty.
Even if the case doesn’t go to trial, its plotlines seem tailor-made for screenwriters.
A woman told investigators shortly after Goforth’s slaying that she was his mistress, was meeting with him at the gas station, and saw the murder, according to a disclosure filed with the court.
Osso said last year if he can prove Goforth was not at the gas station in his official capacity as a police officer, then Miles’ capital murder charge could be reduced to murder, which could save him from the death penalty.
Former Harris County Sheriff Ron Hickman fired two sheriff’s officers, one in October 2015 and another in early February 2016, for having sexual relations with Goforth’s alleged mistress. One of the fired officers was assigned to investigate Goforth’s murder.
Hickman fired a third deputy on Feb. 12, 2016, for sending the same woman emails soliciting her for sex.
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