HOUSTON (FOX 26) - The family of a slain Harris County Sheriff's Office deputy will have to wait another two months before the case against the man charged in his death can proceed.
Shannon Miles, who was charged in the deadly 2015 ambush of Deputy Darren Goforth, did not appear in the 17th floor courtroom where prosecutors and defense lawyers gathered to discuss the murder defendant's mental health.
FOX 26 News asked attorneys for 31-year-old Shannon Miles whether he was heavily-medicated upon returning to the Harris County Jail from North Texas State Hospital, a facility described on the Texas Department of State Health Services website as one that provides "maximum security forensic psychiatric services to adults and secured forensic services to adolescents referred from throughout the state.".
"He's psychotic, He's schizophrenic," said Anthony Osso, a defense attorney for Miles. "The answer to that would be a big yes."
Inside the courtroom, Judge Susan Brown said she was prepared to declare Miles as mentally competent for trial, a man accused of shooting Deputy Goforth 15 times. Osso quickly countered, threatening to move for a full jury trial focused solely on Miles' mental capacity. That proposition persuaded Judge Brown to grant the defense team eight weeks to make its own determination.
"Our doctors need to help us understand whether or not his competency has been restored," said Charlie Brown, an attorney on the Miles defense team.
"We just want make sure his rights are fully protected before moving forward," added Osso. "The judge understood that."
Prosecutors suggested that Judge Brown's preference to proceed sooner rather than later reflects real concerns that Miles could relapse in jail.
"She just wants to make sure that he maintains his competency, so we can move forward and see the justice this case deserves," said Marcy McCorvey, Assistant Harris County District Attorney.
Osso conceded that his client's ability to remain rational could collapse.
"If competency was in fact restored, he has to stay med-compliant or he will deteriorate again to the point that he would once again become incompetent," said Osso.
Judge Brown set the next hearing in the case for Nov.16 in the 185th District Court.