The murder of a state trooper in Texas has just taken an uncomfortable legal turn, as evidenced by this unusual editor's note atop the coverage at KHOU: "We want to let you know this is the first time we've reported these claims about Deputy Darren Goforth and another woman. And we're doing it now only because the attorney for the deputy's alleged killer is making the alleged relationship part of his defense strategy. ... Like many of you, we feel this is just another sad turn in an already tragic story." The reason for the hesitancy: Attorneys for the man accused of gunning down Goforth are making the case that their client should not be eligible for the death penalty—because they say the trooper was meeting a mistress at the gas station where he was killed, and thus not performing "the lawful discharge of an official duty," the Houston Chronicle reports.
"From my client's standpoint, this would no longer be a capital murder but it would be murder," says Anthony Osso, an attorney for Shannon Miles. "I want to get (the death penalty) off the table." The woman, an eyewitness to the shooting, has told investigators that she had been in a romantic relationship with Goforth for more than a year, reports the Chronicle. There's no indication that she knew the suspect, only Goforth, says Osso. The Harris County District Attorney's Office is not commenting on the new twist, reports ABC 13. The sheriff's office has maintained that Goforth was at the gas station to fill up his patrol car after dealing with an accident and still had three hours left on his shift. Osso says he's only doing what's necessary for his client. "It’s a legal issue that we have to raise.”