Accused killer of Deputy Darren Goforth has history of serious mental illness

Shannon J. Miles, 30, has been accused of killing Harris County Deputy Sheriff Darren Goforth. Yesterday morning a judge reviewed the district attorney’s charging documents and found probable cause to believe that Mr. Miles committed the murder. The judge also denied bail which means Mr. Miles will continue to be held while the district attorney seeks a capital murder indictment from a grand jury. A capital murder charge means that Mr. Miles could potentially be sentenced to death if he is found guilty.

The Houston Chronicle is reporting today,

In 2012, the Travis County District Attorney’s Office charged Miles with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon after he got into a fight at a homeless shelter over a remote control, prosecutor Joe Frederick said. Miles was found to be mentally incompetent in October 2012 and he was sent to North Texas State Hospital in Vernon, Texas.

“From this case, you could never tell what would happen” in the future, Frederick said, adding that prosecutors treated the case as a “very serious offense” and had offered Miles a plea agreement of seven years in prison. Miles was declared mentally competent in February 2013, but the charge was dropped after the victim could not be located, Frederick said.

A person has to be legally competent in order to stand trial. The legal test for competency is whether a person understands what crime(s) he is charged with and the potential consequences he faces if convicted. He also must be able to communicate with his lawyer and assist him to prepare a defense. To be adjudicated incompetent to stand trial, a person must be so delusional and confused that he cannot distinguish between reality and illusion. In most cases an incompetent defendant can be restored to competency by administering anti-psychotic medication. We saw that happen with Jared Laughner (who shot and killed U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and a federal judge at a meet-and-greet in Tucson, AZ) and James Holmes (who killed 12 and wounded 70 people at a movie theater in Aurora, CO). Laughner avoided a potential death penalty by pleading guilty and was sentenced to LWOP. Holmes was sentenced to LWOP by a jury after it rejected his insanity defense and convicted him of the 12 murders. The LWOP sentences in both cases reflect a reluctance to impose the death penalty on mentally ill defendants because, but for the mental illness that they did not choose to have, they would not have killed anyone.

I think it’s significant that Mr. Miles was adjudicated incompetent in 2012 and involuntarily committed to a mental hospital where it took four months to restore his competency. That suggests that Mr. Miles has a persistent, serious and probably incurable mental illness that requires a daily dose of an anti-psychotic drug to prevent psychotic breaks.

From the article in the Houston Chronicle:

Jon Evans, Miles’ attorney in the Austin case, said medical privacy laws prevent him from offering any details about Miles’ mental illness history. But he was told by Miles’ mother that her son had a lifelong history of mental illness.

In yesterday’s piece, I criticized Harris County Sheriff Ron Hickman for blaming the Black Lives Matter movement for the murder of Deputy Sheriff Darren Goforth. I am calling him out again today because his accusation was not based on any evidence. I rely on the statement by the Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson:

Anderson would not comment on a motive, saying investigators were still trying to figure that out. When asked if it might be connected to heightened tensions around the country between law enforcement and civilians, Anderson said: “I have no idea whether it does or not.”

Other Readings:

Black Lives Matter did not kill Deputy Sheriff Darren Goforth

Time to end death penalty prosecutions of the mentally ill

Jury sentences James Holmes to Life Without Parole

8 Responses to Accused killer of Deputy Darren Goforth has history of serious mental illness

  1. Malisha says:

    The idea that any misfortune can be blamed on that segment of the population that is being bullied is a very common human social crime. It originates within the family, in dysfunctional families, where the blamed person (one particular child can fall into this category or, if the father of the family is an angry drunk, usually his wife will fall into this category) is then somehow described as the cause of all the trouble. It’s massive projection. What the police are saying when they blame BLM is, “Protesting any of our murderous behavior makes us very angry and then everything goes wrong; it’s the fault of whoever made us angry!” Just like an angry drunk.

    • Yes, indeed. The stubborn refusal of police to admit any wrongdoing, despite convincing evidence to the contrary, including audio and videotape, coupled with angry push-back from police union officials blaming victims for not following orders matches the abuser profile. Their denial means the situation can only get worse. That means more death and suffering on both sides.

      If I were a law enforcement officer today, I would resign because I would believe that serious injury or death is not a matter of whether; it’s a matter of when.

  2. ed nelson says:

    I didn’t write my above comment all that well, so stipulated, however, my keyboard is sticking.

    I hold to my point: Put some recources into making life workable for all… even the lowest on the totem pole! All should have a way to live and to improve themselves as they might try.

    I hate to tell you, but things are getting to a kind of watershed, and it ain’t going to be pretty.

    How beautiful can it be when … ”God” is turning up the thermostat on us… (the hot weather that is… )I mean he/she is think’n: I gave them the whole firmament and garden etc… and these Apes have gone out and ate all the other creatures and … even eachother!

    Turn on the lamp Igor!

  3. I’m surprised they didn’t hold him in the other case even though the victim wasn’t available. Some states would have continued the case but at least put him on monitored probation even without the victim, something that may have slowed Miles down and gotten him some help.

    • He assaulted the guy in a homeless shelter, a Latino drifter who disappeared without leaving a forwarding address. Cops didn’t even know where to start looking for him, so the court had to dismiss the case.

  4. MichelleO says:

    It’s called the “Get those nwords!” call. Every Klan member recognizes and obeys.

  5. ed nelson says:

    This where being a traditional kind law enforcement Cop… this is the kind of danger that cops really have to be aware of.

    I don’t agree with militarisation of community police, but still, there is and will always be a danger to those who do the job.

    A little tangential maybe, they ought to do something to take guys like that perp off of the the streets-with-gun!!

    Now what would that entail? answer: It will cost money!

    Answer #2: It would cost money to rectify and that would take money that didn’t got to the fat cats!!!

    INWords: as bad as it is, with the fat cats printing money to live the life of ”Reilly” andthensome, couldn’t the bastards shower society with some of it? To help get that perp a little help?? before hegoesbalistic???

    No, Imean GReed GreedGreeD and no concience seems to be what is the normal in the lanes of power of today.

    Tangential or whatTF, Al DeTogueville wrote ”Democracy in America” sometime before 1860 and there predicted, so I’m told, ’cause, ( I don’t read that old antique stuff much, have it here on a shelf) But many eggheads used to reffer to A de T about the prediction that: eventually, there would be time, when there would be a group/class/etc. that would realize and seize on the opportunity provided by the American government system to… write them selves all the checks/money Lute ect.!!

    Well… fine and dandy… but see, the bastards don’t give a ”Tinker’s
    Damn” about society, or the means and ways to keep it working…

    So the monsters took over the Hen house metaphorically, and we now see Ade Tockville had it right!

    Somebody should put some f’n money to stop these kids from getting so crazy, and watch them before!!! before they act out!!!

    Print some f’n money to do something that is good

    —-Maybe you don’t need a new modal privat jet plane to get to your other yatchit right away, spend some of that ersatz print money on the peeps/ on the help to keep the folks from goin’ off
    crazy like so often, and no I don’tmean anti drepressants in the water, how about some action on jobs and etc.

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