Trip to mental health hospital will be delayed for man accused of killing Deputy Goforth

By Jace Larson - Investigative Reporter

HOUSTON - A Harris County district judge ruled Monday afternoon on a motion by the attorney for the man accused of killing Harris County Sheriff’s Deputy Darren Goforth to block a Texas state senator from speeding up the defendant’s placement in a mental health hospital.

Mental health experts, the defense and the prosecution in the case agree Shannon Miles is incompetent to stand trial right now.

State Sen. John Whitmire made a now-controversial phone call that opened a space for Miles at the state mental hospital ahead of other people waiting to get in for treatment.

Miles' 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 him to the front.

A judge ruled on a motion Monday that Miles must maintain his place on the waiting list for the state mental health hospital. Previously, 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.

“The right thing to do in all this is for Mr. Miles to remain where he is on the list," said Brown.

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

“Mr. Miles belongs in a hospital,” Whitmire said Monday outside court before the schedule noon hearing started. “I picked up the phone. I thought they were very serious, and I got him a bed. I would do the same thing today. In fact, I think it’s more important he be in a state hospital than the Harris County Jail.”

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

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.

If you have a tip about this story or a story idea for investigative reporter Jace Larson, email him at jlarson@kprc.com or text him at 832-493-3951.

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