Shannon Miles, the man charged with capital murder in the August 2015 shooting death of Harris County Sheriff's Office Deputy Darren Goforth, is scheduled to appear before a judge after spending months in a state mental health facility.
As a result of the bench warrant issued on Tuesday, Miles will be transferred from North Texas State Hospital in Vernon to appear in the 185th District Court on Sept. 20 at 9 a.m. The hospital is described as a facility that provides "maximum security forensic psychiatric services to adults and secured forensic services to adolescents referred from throughout the state."
Anthony Osso, the defense attorney for Miles, tells FOX 26 News that his client spent almost 90 days at the hospital in order for his competency to be restored. Miles was only required to spend a maximum stay of 120 days at the facility.
“Mr. Miles is kept on a regimen of psychotropic medications,” explains Miles’ attorney Anthony Osso. Miles has been on a cocktail of meds and undergoing intense counseling since July 2016 at Vernon State Hospital in an effort to restore his competency. Now doctors at Vernon say they have accomplished their mission.
Because the hospital approved Miles to be transferred to Harris County jail, Osso says that is an indicator that Miles is competent to stand trial even though no hearing took place to determine that.
“Every expert that's looked at Mr. Miles is in agreement he has a history of mental illness,” adds Osso. That history includes bipolar disorder, episodal psychoses and schizophrenia.
Miles was found incompetent to stand trial in early 2016. Following the treatment at the state hospital in Vernon, Miles has been declared competent.
“We'll have an opportunity, his defense team, to review all the medical records," says Osso. "We'll review the report. I'll speak with my experts. The defense team will attempt to try to work with him again and we'll be able to tell once we meet with him whether or not we agree that his competency has been restored.”
What are some of the reasons that the defense would not agree with the hospital competency ruling?
“If he's unable to assist in the preparation of his defense," further explains Osso. "If he can't communicate, that would be a reason, for example. You'll recall we had difficulty communicating with him. He was very tangential.”
Osso will have approximately a month to tell the judge whether he agrees or disagrees that Miles is competent to stand trial.
Harris County Sheriff Ron Hickman says this has been a painful, long process and he's ready for the trial and for justice.
“Now that we’ve reached this juncture we’re very pleased that this process will now be able to move forward,” Hickman said. I’m confident that the D.A’s office will be prepared to move into a trial phase at some point very soon and we can all see this play out in the courtroom as it should.”