Harris County DA Kim Ogg wants to recuse self, requests special prosecutor for Shannon Miles case

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HARRIS COUNTY, Texas -- Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg requested Wednesday that a special prosecutor handle the case against Shannon Miles, the man charged with capital murder for the August 2015 shooting death of Sheriff’s Deputy Darren Goforth.

Ogg asked that she and her staff be recused from prosecuting Miles “to avoid any appearance of impropriety,” according to a motion signed by Ogg and filed in the 185th District Court.

The motion states that when Ogg’s chief of staff, Vivian King, was a private practice defense lawyer in 2015, she represented two witnesses regarding Miles’ whereabouts during the murder and Miles’ mental state at the time.

Miles faces life in prison, or death, if convicted.

Prosecutors said Miles killed Goforth simply because of the uniform he was wearing. The two men had never met before. Miles was allegedly sitting in his red Ford Ranger pickup truck at a gas station on West Road when he spotted Goforth.

Goforth pumped gas into his patrol car, then went into the store. When he walked back outside, a man ran up behind him and opened fire. Goforth never had a chance to react.

The shooter unloaded 15 rounds from a .40 caliber handgun into the back and head of the deputy, then jumped into a truck and drove off.

Since the murder, Miles has been undergoing a series of mental evaluations to determine his state of mind when he allegedly killed the law enforcement officer in cold blood. First he was found to be incompetent, then a judge reversed that finding.

Attorney Anthony Osso requested Miles be properly evaluated in November, and a judge ordered his client to undergo another mental evaluation, causing a delay in the trial. In early March, a judge ruled that Miles was competent to stand trial.

The case, however, will not be handled by Ogg's team.

“This decision was not made lightly,” said David Mendoza, chief of the Office of Professional Integrity, which Ogg created shortly after her administration began Jan. 1.

Goforth was a 10-year veteran of the Harris County Sheriff’s Office. He was 47 years old, a husband and a father of two. Loved ones said they would always remember his smile and his “stupid” sense of humor.

“Seeing that justice is done, with respect to the capital murder of a police officer, is one of the most profound functions of the district attorney,” said Mendoza, a retired state district judge. “We want to see this case tried once and see it tried cleanly. The people of Harris County and the family of Darren Goforth deserve justice.”