One year after Harris County deputy's murder, motive remains elusive

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One year after deputy's murder, motive remains allusive

One year ago on this day, Harris County Sheriff's Deputy Darren Goforth was murdered, gunned down with 15 bullets as he filled up his patrol vehicle at a northwest Harris County gas station

The 31-year-old man charged with capital murder in his death, Shannon Miles, has been in a state mental hospital since earlier this summer for treatment to restore his mental competency.

The north Texas state hospital in Vernon where Miles is staying is a far cry from where many Houstonians likely thought the alleged killer would be.

But it is where a Harris County judge sent him with the hope of restoring the mentally ill man's competency to stand trial for capital murder.

SEE ALSO: Witness to Goforth murder claims romantic relationship

Anthony Osso, Miles' attorney, told abc13 that Miles is responding to treatment and expects a trial to happen -- but a trial date is far from certain. Osso said even discussing facts of the case with his client was difficult.

"Early on it was determined we could not even discuss the facts of the case," Osso said.

Harris County Sheriff's officers are also reminded -- daily -- of the killing of their colleague.

At the sheriff's downtown headquarters, a remembrance banner hangs as deputies report to work everyday.

"There are a lot of committed and dedicated public servants who come to work here every day," Sheriff Ron Hickman said. "They don't know if their loved ones are coming home."

Goforth, 47, didn't go home one year ago.

The sheriff says his widow still struggles with the loss, a seemingly unexplainable one.

SEE ALSO: HCSO investigator had "consensual sexual contact" with Goforth eyewitness

Even after a year of investigation, there's no reason why a deputy was seemingly executed.

"As far as we can tell and to this day, no previous contact between those two at all... leaving the only motive to be an anti police sentiment," Hickman said.

Osso also had few comments about motive.

"I can't discuss motive for something I am not certain my client is responsible for," he said.

Still, motive isn't necessary to prove who pulled the trigger.

The crime was captured by surveillance cameras.

Prosecutors have not commented on it and it hasn't been released, but now a year into planning his defense, Miles' team suggests even that will be an issue.

"The video is not definitive," Osso said.

Hickman, who has seen the video, suggests otherwise.

"I think it's very strong evidence," the sheriff said.

Miles' stay at the mental health hospital could be extended for many more months. Regardless of those issues, this case has enough diversions to delay a trial for some time -- including a sheriff investigator's sexual activity with an eyewitness to the killing.

The eyewitness said she had a "romantic relationship" with Goforth "during the preceding 15 months." In addition, a long-time, well-known homicide investigator with the Harris County Sheriff's Office acknowledged engaging in "consensual sexual contact" with that key witness.

Hickman said he has worked hard to restore any trust that his office lost due to that.

Related Topics:
Ted Oberg InvestigatesDeputy Darren GoforthHarris County
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