Darren Goforth, the Texas sheriff’s deputy slain in apparent cold blood at a Houston gas station on August 28, was with his mistress at the time he was gunned down, a detail which could prove crucial in charging suspected shooter Shannon Miles. If indeed Goforth was at the gas station with the woman, who says, according to a court affidavit, that she was involved in a 15-month affair with Goforth, Miles could avoid facing the death penalty, the suspect’s attorney now says.
Goforth, 47, was a married father of two. But according to the affidavit dated September 16 and revealed by KTRK-TV News in Houston, a female eyewitness to the horrifying murder was sitting inside Goforth’s patrol vehicle when a man police say is 30-year-old Shannon Miles approached him from behind and shot him multiple times, even continuing to fire as Goforth’s stricken body lay on the ground.
The affidavit signed by two Harris County prosecutors can be viewed at this link, and says the woman told police officers that she “had a romantic relationship with the decedent during the preceding 15 months.”
While initial reports from the Harris County sheriff’s office did not mention that female witness, other witnesses told KTRK that they saw a well-dressed woman in tears standing over the fallen body of Darren Goforth. But when the station’s reporters tried to track her down, they were not successful.
The name of the woman was not included in the affidavit. But she reportedly gave statements to investigators and submitted to a polygraph examination. The results of that test, as well as her statements, have been given to the alleged shooter’s defense lawyer, Anthony Osso.
Investigators say they have no evidence of a connection between accused killer Shannon Miles and the female witness.
Osso has not revealed what the woman told the investigators or whether she passed the polygraph, and he has refused to say whether anything in her statement could shed light on the motive behind the seemingly random killing. But he said that the newly-revealed detail could change the charges against Miles.
“My concern about the relationship is what took place while he was at the Chevron station,” Osso told KBMT-TV. “In order for a case to be considered a capital murder in Texas when it involves a police officer shooting, the officer, or deputy in this case, has to be in the lawful discharge of an official duty.”
The Harris County Sheriff’s Office, in a statement, maintained that everything Goforth was doing at the gas station was part of his normal law enforcement activities. But one defense attorney not involved in the case says that any suggestion of a police cover-up could alter how a jury views the facts of the case.
“All you need is reasonable doubt,” said lawyer Joel Androphy. “The state could have done a better job of investigating and asking this person questions up front if this person had an affair or have a relationship with the deceased.”
Stephen Allison, brother-in-law to slain deputy Darren Goforth, called the allegation that Goforth was having an affair “a lie.”
[Images: Harris County Sheriff’s Department, Aaron M. Sprecher / Getty Images]