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The Police News
DA Roady On Team To Prosecute Cop Killer
Harris County

By Catherine Dominguez
Conroe Courier

Montgomery County District Attorney Brett Ligon will lead the prosecution in the high-profile 2015 shooting death of Harris County Deputy Darren Goforth.

Ligon was appointed attorney pro tem by Harris County 185th state District Court Judge Susan Brown after Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg filed a motion to recuse her office April 5. According to the order appointing Ligon, Ogg recused the office because now Assistant District Attorney Vivian King previously represented a witness in the case while in private practice.

Ligon told The Courier in an exclusive interview Monday he would approach the case fairly with a "high-caliber" team.

"This is going to be a unique combination of agencies," Ligon said. "When you have the capital murder trial of a police officer, it's going to be a drain on resources."

On his team will be Galveston District Attorney Jack Roady and his First Assistant Kevin Petroff. From Ligon's office, Trial Bureau Chief Kelly Blackburn and Chief Prosecutor in the 9th state District Court Donna Berkey will help in the case. In addition, Ligon said he has been in touch with the Texas Attorney General's Office about assistance on the case; however, he had no further information regarding that office's involvement.

"We will provide all the resources needed to get to a right and just result," Ligon said. "What is important for people to understand the caliber of prosecutors we are putting on this. These are professional prosecutors."

As part of the order appointing Ligon, neither Ligon nor the other prosecutors will be compensated for their work on the case. Harris County, the order states, will incur all expenses of the investigation and prosecution including but not limited to securing of records and other evidence, the travel expenses of the state's witnesses and the reasonable fees of expert witnesses employed by Ligon for the case.

Shannon Miles, 32, is accused of gunning down Goforth on Aug. 28, 2015, at a northwest Harris County gas station while the deputy filled up his police cruiser. Miles allegedly ran up behind Goforth, put a gun to his head and fired. After Goforth fell, Miles allegedly stood over him and emptied his pistol.

Goforth was in uniform when he died. Miles has been charged with capital murder.

During an arraignment last month, Miles entered a not guilty plea ending a more than yearlong process of evaluations and hearings to explore and help restore Miles' mental health, which prevented the trial from proceeding.

Ligon did not say whether he would seek the death penalty in the case.

"It is still too early to make a determination as to whether we seek the death penalty or not because we have had substantive conversations with the defense attorneys," Ligon said.

Who they are:

Brett Ligon – Ligon was first elected Montgomery County district attorney in 2008 and took office in January 2009. After receiving his degree from the South Texas College of Law, he became an assistant district attorney with the Harris County District Attorney's Office. While at the District Attorney's Office, he was a misdemeanor and felony prosecutor and chief of the Justice of the Peace Division. He left the District Attorney's Office to become staff counsel for the Houston Police Officers' Union.

Jack Roady - Roady was first elected Galveston County criminal district attorney in 2010. Before that, Roady served as a trial and appellate prosecutor with the Harris County District Attorney's Office in Houston for 10 years. Roady has served on the board of directors for the Texas District & County Attorneys Association and is an appointed member of the Texas Criminal Justice Integrity Unit. In 2016, he was named Prosecutor of the Year by the State Bar of Texas Criminal Justice Section. Roady told Texas Police News Tuesday morning, "I'm looking forward to working closely with DA Ligon and his team to see that justice is done in this case".

Kelly Blackburn – Blackburn began his career as a prosecutor in 1999 at the Harris County District Attorney's Office. In 2008, Blackburn worked for the Department of Justice for the Western District of Texas handling large-scale narcotics offenses, human smuggling, bulk case smuggling, firearms, and organized crime. In 2010, he began working at the Montgomery County District Attorney's Office.

Donna Berkey – Berkey worked for the Harris County District Attorney's Office before coming to work at the Montgomery County District Attorney's Office in July 2016.