Fort Worth

Homeless man dies at hospital while in Tarrant County Jail custody; Rangers investigate

A homeless man died Thursday after he was taken to a hospital from the Tarrant County Jail.

Officials with the Texas Rangers are investigating the death of Robert Geron Miller, 38, who was arrested Wednesday on eight misdemeanor warrants and accused of damaging the rear passenger door of a Fort Worth police car.

Law requires the in-custody death to be investigated by an outside agency, according to David McClelland, chief of staff for the Tarrant County Sheriff’s Office.

“We choose to use the Texas Rangers on all situations like this,” McClelland said.

McClelland referred questions regarding the circumstances of Miller’s death to the Rangers.

A spokesman for the Texas Department of Public Safety said the investigation by the Rangers is ongoing and no additional information is available.

No jailers have been reassigned or placed on administrative leave as a result of Miller’s death, McClelland said.

Miller was arrested about 8:30 a.m. Wednesday and pronounced dead about 5:45 a.m. Thursday. A ruling on Miller’s cause or manner of death is pending, according to the Tarrant County medical examiners office.

Officers responded to a disturbance call in the 900 block of East 12th Street, where Miller was taken into custody. Once Miller was in a patrol car, he became combative and, “began kicking and spitting in the back of the patrol car causing damage,” a police report said.

Miller has been in and out of the Tarrant County Jail a dozen times since 2001, but had not been in jail since 2016. Half of Miller’s cases were drug related, and five of those arrests were on charges he had 2 ounces of marijuana or less, court records state.

When Miller was 22 in 2003, his probation was revoked on a robbery charge, an accusation he denied, court records show. The court ordered that Miller undergo a psychological examination to determine if he was competent to stand trial.

While it was determined that Miller was legally competent to stand trial, his interviewers wrote in their reports that he had obvious issues.

Miller told an interviewer in 2003 that he was homeless and took Doxepin, an antidepressant, to help him sleep, and Seroquel, an anti-psychotic, for his aggravation. Miller also told his interviewers that he had been seen by mental health professionals before being taken to jail.

Under the diagnostic impressions section in his report, one interviewer listed the following three things — mixed personality disorder with antisocial traits predominant; marijuana abuse; and depression, mild to moderate.

“The defendant has a history of not dealing constructively with feelings of frustration and anger,” the interviewer wrote in his report.

Miller also was accused of not paying probation and court costs prior to his probation being revoked.

Miller was in danger of having his probation revoked because he hit a relative, burned him with hot grease and then rammed that relative’s head into a wall, according to court documents.

Miller’s attorney of record at that time, Stephen Handy, did not immediately return a call requesting comment.

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Mitch Mitchell is an award-winning reporter covering courts and crime for the Star-Telegram. Additionally, Mitch’s past coverage on municipal government, healthcare and social services beats allow him to bring experience and context to the stories he writes.