First Four Go On Trial For Vaughn Prison Riot, Floyd Murder

Jury selection for the first four defendants in the 2017 Vaughn Prison Riot Trials is scheduled to begin Today, Monday, October 8, 2018.

Prosecutors have spent over 20 months preparing for the trials involving 18 inmate defendants, stemming from the February 2017 Vaughn Prison Riot, that took the life of Lt. Steven Floyd and injured three others.

In this first trial all four are facing three counts of Murder 1st Degree, intentional murder, felony murder, and recklessly causing death of a correctional officer; two counts of Assault 1st Degree, a count each regarding Corrections Officer Winslow Smith and Corrections Officer Joshua Wilkinson; four counts of Kidnapping 1st Degree, a count each for Lt. Floyd, Smith, Wilkinson and counselor Patricia May; one count of Riot; and one count of Conspiracy 2nd Degree, for conspiring to commit Riot.

The first to go on trial will be:

Jarreau Ayers, age 36 – currently serving a life sentence for Murder 1st Degree and other charges
Deric Forney, age 28 – currently serving 11 years for Possession of a Firearm During Commission of a Felony, Possession of a Firearm By a Person Prohibited and drug charges
Roman Shankaras, age 30 – currently serving 7 years for Riot and two counts of Robbery 1st
Dwayne Staats, age 35 – currently serving a life sentence for Murder 1st Degree

If found guilty the most severe punishment the defendants could get is life without parole. A vote last year to reinstate Delaware’s death penalty passed in the House but died in the Senate.

The first trial is scheduled to begin hearing testimony on  October 22, 2018.

Twelve other defendants will also face the same charges in their upcoming trials.

Abednego Baynes, age 25 – currently serving 18 years for Murder 2nd Degree
Kevin Berry, age 27 – currently serving 14 years for three counts of Robbery 1st Degree and other charges
John Bramble, age 28 – currently serving 40 years for Possession of a Firearm During the Commission of a Felony, Assault Second Degree, Possession of a Firearm by a Person Prohibited, Possession of Ammunition by a Person Prohibited, and Home invasion
Abdul-Haqq El-Qadeer, aka Louis Sierra, age 31 – currently serving a life sentence for Murder 1st Degree
Kelly Gibbs, age 29 – currently serving 24 years 9 month sentence for Murder 2nd Degree
Robert Hernandez, age 36 – an inmate from New Mexico serving a 16-year sentence for Murder 2nd Degree in that state
Janiis Mathis, age 25 – currently serving 15 years for Assault 2nd Degree and other charges
Lawrence Michaels, age 31 – currently serving 19 years for Kidnapping 1st Degree, Attempted Robbery 1st Degree, Possession of a Firearm during Commission of a Felony and other charges
Obadiah Miller, age 25 – currently serving 10 years for Manslaughter and Possession of a Firearm During the Commission of a Felony
Jonatan Rodriguez, age 25 – currently serving 40 years for Manslaughter and other charges
Alejandro Rodriguez-Ortiz, age 27 – currently serving 40 years for Manslaughter and other charges
Corey Smith, age 32 – currently serving 14 years for a Violation of Probation for Possession of a Deadly Weapon by a Person Prohibited, Violation of Probation for Carrying a Concealed Deadly Weapon, Attempted Robbery First Degree, Assault Second Degree, Promoting Prison Contraband

Two other individuals will face four counts of Kidnapping 1st Degree (a count each for Lt. Floyd, C.O. Smith, C.O. Wilkinson and counselor May); one count of Riot; and one count of Conspiracy 2nd Degree (for conspiring to commit Riot):

Pedro Chairez, age 42 – an inmate from Arizona serving a 43-year sentence for Murder 2nd and other charges committed in that state
Royal Downs, age 52 – an inmate from Maryland serving a life sentence for Murder 1st Degree and other charges committed in that state

 

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First State Update's Delaware editorial team covers New Castle County, Kent County and Sussex County breaking news, political news, and general news stories. We bring the reader the latest news from the Wilmington, Newark, Dover, Rehoboth Beach and all point in between. If you have news to share, email us at desk@firststateupdate.com.