- Associated Press - Friday, February 12, 2016

HOUSTON (AP) - Two more Harris County Sheriff’s Office employees have been fired amid the investigation into the August fatal shooting of a deputy at a gas station.

Sheriff Ron Hickman fired Deputy Jason Goodrich on Friday, three days after he fired Deputy Marc DeLeon.

Hickman’s office says Goodrich had inappropriate communication with two witnesses in cases he was investigating, including one involved in the capital murder investigation of the slaying of Deputy Darren Goforth. DeLeon was found to have been untruthful related to a witness in the Goforth case.

An investigator, Sgt. Craig Clopton, was fired last October for having “consensual sexual conduct” with a witness. Authorities haven’t said if the dismissals involve the same witness.

Hickman told the Houston Chronicle he was concerned that at least one of his investigators had a sexual relationship with a Goforth witness, “but confident in the … team assembled to attach the issues associated with this case.”

“While you wouldn’t think you’d have to say that - that it’s a bad thing to sleep with witnesses - apparently in this day and age you have to spell it out,” Hickman added.

A suspect in Goforth’s killing, Shannon Miles, is charged with capital murder but was ruled incompetent for trial Tuesday and sent to a mental hospital. Anthony Osso, Miles’ defense attorney, says he intends for the jurors at trial to consider the allegations against the deputies.

“Basically, you’ll have 12 jurors who will have to determine the weight of their (the deputies’) credibility. Certainly it’s a twist in this case, and this case has seen more twists than any case I’ve ever seen,” Osso told the newspaper, adding that he has been trying cases for 33 years.

Indeed, the allegations against the deputies could complicate the prosecution of Miles, but each prosecution presents its own challenges, district attorney’s spokesman Jeff McShan told the newspaper.

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This story has been corrected to show that Goodrich was fired three days after DeLeon, not one.

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