Both sides agree: Shannon Miles mentally incompetent to stand trial

By Lea Wilson - Digital News Editor

HOUSTON - Surrounded by at least five Harris County sheriff's deputies, the man accused of shooting deputy Darren Goforth appeared in court Monday afternoon. 

Both sides agree, Shannon Miles, who appeared in his yellow jail outfit, is mentally incompetent to stand trial right now. Miles' physical appearance has significantly changed.  He's lost weight and has grown his hair out, and now has a beard and goatee.

His attorney, Anthony Osso, went to court asking the judge to keep Miles in his place in line to be transferred to the state mental hospital instead of moving to the front.  

"It did appear that she was looking for some common ground," Osso said. "It's not clear at this point that Sen. John Whitmire would still want to step in and continue to use his political clout to get a bed for my client." 

Whitmire, a Democrat from Texas, had asked the state mental hospital to immediately make a bed available for Miles out of concern for his safety. 

"I think it's in everyone's interest to get him out of the Harris County Jail.  First of all, sick people don't need to be in jail.  They need to be in a hospital.  And for him to wait three months or more I think was detrimental to Mr. Miles and the co-workers of his alleged victim," Whitmire said.

Judge Susan Brown agreed to keep Miles in the county jail for at least two more weeks to give defense attorneys time to compile Miles’ mental health records.  Defense attorneys said they could ask for more time for mental health tests. 

Whitmire said, until the hearing, Miles was scheduled to go to the state mental hospital in Vernon on Tuesday.

Shannon Miles is charged with murder in the August 2015 shooting of Goforth.

Miles last week was found incompetent to stand trial for the shooting. His attorney, Anthony Osso, filed a motion last week to stop the expedited transfer because he said the plan to accelerate his client's transfer was made without his input and got in the way of his client's legal process.

Osso claimed a politician was involving himself in his client's case.

Sen. John Whitmire said that wasn't his intent. He said it would be in everyone's best interest to transfer Miles sooner rather than later.

Miles' attorneys were not expecting him to be transferred from the Harris County Jail to Vernon state hospital for at least 100 days following the ruling. 

A psychiatric expert evaluated Miles and found that the "defendant has been diagnosed with suffering from schizophrenia and the report concludes with a reasonable degree of medical probability that the defendant is presently incompetent to stand trial," according to court documents.

Prosecutors said Miles shot and killed Goforth in retaliation for being a law enforcement officer, and no other reason.

Miles was indicted in November by a Harris County Grand Jury on a capital murder charge.

2016 Click2Houston/KPRC2