16 Inmates Charged With First-degree Murder in Del. Prison Upris - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

18 Inmates Charged in Deadly Del. Prison Uprising

Posted: 10/17/2017 10:14:00 -04:00 Updated:

 

SMYRNA, Del.- Sixteen inmates have been charged with first-degree murder in connection with a deadly uprising that occurred in early February at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in Smyrna. Two other inmates were also charged in connection with the incident.

The Delaware Department of Justice said Wednesday that a total of 18 inmates were indicted in connection with the Feb. 1-2 incident that  resulted in the murder of Lt. Steven Floyd, injuries to Correctional Officers Winslow Smith and Joshua Wilkinson, and the kidnapping of counselor Patricia May. The indictments were handed up Monday by a New Castle County Grand Jury and initially were sealed by the court.

The DOJ said the defendants are all currently being held in Delaware correctional facilities and have been since Feb. 2. The indictments were initially sealed for security reasons, so that Department of Correction personnel could ensure that necessary security precautions were taken within correctional facilities to process inmates on the indictments, according to the DOJ.

Sixteen inmates have each been charged with: three counts of first-degree degree murder (intentional murder, felony murder, and recklessly causing death of a correctional officer); two counts of first-degree assault (a count each regarding C.O. Smith and C. O. Wilkinson); four counts of first-degree kidnapping (a count each for Lt. Floyd, C.O. Smith, C.O. Wilkinson and counselor May); one count of riot; and one count of second-degree conspiracy (for conspiring to commit riot):

  1. Jarreau Ayers, age 36 – currently serving a life sentence for first-degree murder and other charges
  2. Abednego Baynes, age 25 – currently serving 18 years for second-degree murder 
  3. Kevin Berry, age 27 – currently serving 14 years for three counts of first-degree robbery and other charges
  4. John Bramble, age 28 – currently serving 40 years for possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, second-degree assault, possession of a firearm by a person prohibited, possession of ammunition by a person prohibited, and home invasion
  5. Abdul-Haqq El-Qadeer, aka Louis Sierra, age 31 – currently serving a life sentence for first-degree murder
  6. 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
  7. Kelly Gibbs, age 29 – currently serving 24 years, 9 month sentence for second-degree murder 
  8. Robert Hernandez, age 36 – an inmate from New Mexico serving a 16-year sentence for second-degree murder 
  9. Janiis Mathis, age 25 – currently serving 15 years for second-degree assault and other charges
  10. Lawrence Michaels, age 31 – currently serving 19 years for first-degree kidnapping, first-degree attempted robbery, possession of a firearm during commission of a felony and other charges
  11. Obadiah Miller, age 25 – currently serving 10 years for manslaughter and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony
  12. Jonatan Rodriguez, age 25 – currently serving 40 years for manslaughter and other charges
  13. Alejandro Rodriguez-Ortiz, age 27 - currently serving 40 years for manslaughter and other charges
  14. Roman Shankaras, age 30 – currently serving 7 years for riot and two counts of first-degree robbery
  15. 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 first-degree robbery, second-degree assault, promoting prison contraband
  16. Dwayne Staats, age 35 – currently serving a life sentence for first-degree murder

Two other inmates were each charged with: four counts of first-degree kidnapping (a count each for Lt. Floyd, C.O. Smith, C.O. Wilkinson and counselor May); one count of riot; and one count of second-degree conspiracy (for conspiring to commit riot):

  1. Pedro Chairez, age 42 - an inmate from Arizona serving a 43-year sentence for second-degree murder and other charges committed in that state
  2. Royal Downs, age 52 – an inmate from Maryland serving a life sentence for first-degree murder and other charges committed in that state

The DOJ said that because the investigation into this incident is ongoing, and because of court rules that restrict prosecutors’ ability to publicly discuss criminal matters prior to the time of trial, police and prosecutors will have no further comment about the indictments at this time.

Following the announcement of the indictments, Brendan O'Neill, chief defender for Delaware's Office of Defense Services, released a statement that read, in part, "The Office of Defense Services is prepared to provide a lawyer for each person charged in the indictment and has started the process of doing so. The Office of Defense Services is committed to providing each and every client with competent, conflict-free legal representation. Under our system of justice each of these persons is presumed innocent and the lawyers in the Office of Defense Services will do their utmost to protect the constitutional rights of their clients."

Click here to view mugshots of all 18 inmates charged in connection with the incident. 

 

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