An emergency hearing for Shannon Miles, who was charged with capital murder in the August 2015 shooting death of Deputy Darren Goforth, ends in a win for his defense attorneys.
“It was a partial victory,” says Miles' attorney Anthony Osso. Miles was scheduled to be transferred on Tuesday to a state mental hospital in the Texas town of Vernon. Osso requested in the emergency hearing on Monday for the judge to stop that expedited transfer order. The judge granted the motion to halt the immediate transfer. However, the expedited transfer isn't completely ruled out. Judge Susan Brown wants to reevaluate the 'rush order' in two weeks.
An attorney arguing to keep his client in jail? That's new, but Miles' legal team says Miles isn't ready to go to Vernon state mental hospital. Miles is number 62 on the inmate waiting list to be transferred from the Harris County Jail psychiatric unit but Texas State Senator John Whitmire arranged to have Miles taken right away. Osso says Miles’ medical records are not even ready.
“We’ve had two forensic psychiatrists find he’s incompetent to stand trial," explains Osso. "So medical personnel there, they’ll evaluate him but also the records are critical to that evaluation.”
”I’m quite shocked," says State Sen. Whitmire. "Never in my legal practice have I witnessed a defense attorney argue openly that his client would be better off in jail.”
Osso says Miles may have to undergo further evaluation before being transferred. He also says giving Miles special treatment and putting him at the head of the list to be transferred could put him in danger with the other inmates. However, Sen. Whitmire says he believes it’s dangerous for Miles to remain held in jail.
“By the same department that he allegedly killed one of their coworkers and best friends -- it’s just common sense for me," adds Sen. Whitmire. "It would be best for this sick man to be in a hospital.”
Harris County Sheriff's Deputy Darren Goforth was shot 15 times and killed in August 2015 outside a fuel station. Three other Harris County Sheriff's deputies have been terminated for having an inappropriate relationship with Goforth's alleged mistress. Community activist Quanell X is claiming Miles also had a relationship with that woman.
”Nothing about this woman at this point would surprise me," says Osso. "I look at this woman and I say to myself, 'She thinks 911 is a dating service,'” says Osso. Has Osso asked his client if he indeed had a relationship with the woman?
“We don’t have any conversations with Shannon about critical issues in his case because he’s not competent to stand trial,” explains Osso.
Sen. Whitmire says there’s already enough emotionally-charged details to this case and leaving Miles in the Harris County Jail is potentially asking for more trouble.
”When his attorney goes home to the comfort and safety of his home tomorrow night, Mr. Miles will be locked up in the Harris County Jail," says Sen. Whitmire. "Lord knows what happens in the middle of the night. We just don’t even need to go there. In recent history we’ve had a mental health patient lay in solitary confinement in his own feces for two months. In fact, people got fired over that act. Consider the elements of this case and it just cries for Mr. Miles to get to the hospital and out of the Harris County Jail.”