Prosecutors drop most remaining cases in fatal prison riot - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Prosecutors drop most remaining cases in fatal prison riot

Posted: Updated:
  • NationalMore>>

  • Huffman's court date pushed back in admissions scam case

    Huffman's court date pushed back in admissions scam case

    Wednesday, March 20 2019 2:11 PM EDT2019-03-20 18:11:14 GMT
    Wednesday, March 20 2019 2:12 PM EDT2019-03-20 18:12:39 GMT
    (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, File). FILE - This Sept. 17, 2017 file photo shows actress Felicity Huffman at the 69th Primetime Emmy Awards in Los Angeles. Huffman and Lori Loughlin have worked steadily as respected actresses and remained recog...(Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, File). FILE - This Sept. 17, 2017 file photo shows actress Felicity Huffman at the 69th Primetime Emmy Awards in Los Angeles. Huffman and Lori Loughlin have worked steadily as respected actresses and remained recog...
    (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, File). FILE - This Sept. 17, 2017 file photo shows actress Felicity Huffman at the 69th Primetime Emmy Awards in Los Angeles. Huffman and Lori Loughlin have worked steadily as respected actresses and remained recog...(Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, File). FILE - This Sept. 17, 2017 file photo shows actress Felicity Huffman at the 69th Primetime Emmy Awards in Los Angeles. Huffman and Lori Loughlin have worked steadily as respected actresses and remained recog...
    A judge has granted a request to push back actress Felicity Huffman's court appearance in Boston on charges that she participated in a college admissions cheating scam.More
    A judge has granted a request to push back actress Felicity Huffman's court appearance in Boston on charges that she participated in a college admissions cheating scam.More
  • Arizona woman used pepper spray on adopted kids, police say

    Arizona woman used pepper spray on adopted kids, police say

    Wednesday, March 20 2019 11:01 AM EDT2019-03-20 15:01:13 GMT
    Wednesday, March 20 2019 2:12 PM EDT2019-03-20 18:12:38 GMT
    (Pinal County Sheriff’s Office via AP). This booking photo provided by Pinal County Sheriff’s Office shows Machelle Hackney. Authorities say, Tuesday, March 19, 2019,  Hackney is accused of abusing seven adopted children, including using pepper spray o...(Pinal County Sheriff’s Office via AP). This booking photo provided by Pinal County Sheriff’s Office shows Machelle Hackney. Authorities say, Tuesday, March 19, 2019, Hackney is accused of abusing seven adopted children, including using pepper spray o...
    (Pinal County Sheriff’s Office via AP). This booking photo provided by Pinal County Sheriff’s Office shows Machelle Hackney. Authorities say, Tuesday, March 19, 2019,  Hackney is accused of abusing seven adopted children, including using pepper spray o...(Pinal County Sheriff’s Office via AP). This booking photo provided by Pinal County Sheriff’s Office shows Machelle Hackney. Authorities say, Tuesday, March 19, 2019, Hackney is accused of abusing seven adopted children, including using pepper spray o...
    Arizona authorities say a woman has been arrested on allegations of using pepper spray to discipline her seven adopted children and locking them inside a closet for days.More
    Arizona authorities say a woman has been arrested on allegations of using pepper spray to discipline her seven adopted children and locking them inside a closet for days.More
  • Poll: Support rises in all age groups for legal pot

    Poll: Support rises in all age groups for legal pot

    Tuesday, March 19 2019 6:31 PM EDT2019-03-19 22:31:17 GMT
    Wednesday, March 20 2019 2:12 PM EDT2019-03-20 18:12:37 GMT
    Poll finds growing majority of Americans say marijuana should be legal, support climbs among all age groups.More
    Poll finds growing majority of Americans say marijuana should be legal, support climbs among all age groups.More

By RANDALL CHASE
Associated Press

DOVER, Del. (AP) - Delaware prosecutors dismissed all but three remaining cases Friday against inmate defendants charged in a deadly riot at the state's maximum-security prison.

The decision came after earlier trials of seven inmates resulted in only one - who admitted planning the uprising knowing it could become violent - convicted of murder in guard Steven Floyd's death at James T. Vaughn Correctional Center.

Prosecutors have opted to dismiss cases against six of the 18 inmates originally charged in the riot and will move forward only against defendants Roman Shankaras, Lawrence Michaels and Alejandro Rodgriguez-Ortiz. Prosecutors have previously described Shankaras as the "mastermind" behind the February 2017 riot, while other inmates have testified that Michaels, nicknamed "Smoke," participated in attacking Floyd.

"Prosecutors have an obligation only to prosecute criminal cases where they believe there is a reasonable likelihood of a conviction at trial based on the evidence," the attorney general's office said in a statement Friday. "Prosecutors in the Vaughn trials - who are among the Department's most experienced and who have done a remarkable job in an exceedingly difficult case - have evaluated the evidence against the remaining defendants in light of the testimony in the first two trials and the results of those trials."

The prosecution of the inmates has already cost Delaware taxpayers more than $1.1 million in defense attorney costs.

With little physical evidence, and no surveillance camera footage, prosecutors have relied heavily on testimony from other inmates who were in the prison building during the riot but were not among the 18 charged. Defense attorneys have consistently pointed out that the prosecution witnesses have contradicted one another, and that their testimony has conflicted with statements they gave investigators.

The first trial of three inmates resulted in Dwayne Staats being convicted of felony first-degree murder, first-degree murder of a law enforcement officer, two counts of assault, four counts of kidnapping and second-degree conspiracy. He was already serving a life sentence for murder.

Co-defendant Jarreau Ayers was acquitted of murder but convicted on the same additional charges Staats faced. The jury acquitted a third co-defendant, Deric Forney, on all charges.

The second trial ended last month with no convictions for any of the four inmate defendants.

Floyd was killed during the 20-hour uprising. Two other officers were beaten and tormented by inmates before being released. Response teams eventually used a backhoe to breach a wall and rescue a female counselor. She was not injured.

One of the initial defendants, Royal Downs, a former Baltimore gang leader serving a life sentence for murder, pleaded guilty to a single count of riot and agreed to testify for the prosecution against his fellow inmates. Another defendant, Kelly Gibbs, killed himself in November, just days after pleading guilty to rioting, kidnapping and conspiracy.

Shankaras, meanwhile, recently completed a 7-year sentence for unrelated riot and robbery charges but is being detained on $2.8 million cash bail on the prison riot charges.

Michaels is serving 19 years for kidnapping, attempted robbery and other crimes, with a projected release date of May 2024.

Rodriguez-Ortiz is serving 40 years for manslaughter and other charges and is scheduled to be released in November 2044.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • InternationalMore>>

  • 'There is death all over': Cyclone Idai toll rises above 300

    'There is death all over': Cyclone Idai toll rises above 300

    Wednesday, March 20 2019 4:51 AM EDT2019-03-20 08:51:06 GMT
    Wednesday, March 20 2019 2:12 PM EDT2019-03-20 18:12:17 GMT
    (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi). Soldiers and paramedics carry injured survivors from a helicopter in Chimanimani about 600 kilometres south east of Harare, Zimbabwe, Tuesday March, 19, 2019.  According to the government, Cyclone Idai has killed more t...(AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi). Soldiers and paramedics carry injured survivors from a helicopter in Chimanimani about 600 kilometres south east of Harare, Zimbabwe, Tuesday March, 19, 2019. According to the government, Cyclone Idai has killed more t...
    (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi). Soldiers and paramedics carry injured survivors from a helicopter in Chimanimani about 600 kilometres south east of Harare, Zimbabwe, Tuesday March, 19, 2019.  According to the government, Cyclone Idai has killed more t...(AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi). Soldiers and paramedics carry injured survivors from a helicopter in Chimanimani about 600 kilometres south east of Harare, Zimbabwe, Tuesday March, 19, 2019. According to the government, Cyclone Idai has killed more t...
    Zimbabwe is retrieving and burying bodies Wednesday as Mozambique begins three days of national mourning for victims of Cyclone Idai.More
    Zimbabwe is retrieving and burying bodies Wednesday as Mozambique begins three days of national mourning for victims of Cyclone Idai.More
  • Turkey's Erdogan sparks spat with Australia, New Zealand

    Turkey's Erdogan sparks spat with Australia, New Zealand

    Wednesday, March 20 2019 8:11 AM EDT2019-03-20 12:11:06 GMT
    Wednesday, March 20 2019 2:12 PM EDT2019-03-20 18:12:05 GMT
    (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel). Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses the supporters of his ruling Justice and Development Party, AKP, at a rally in Istanbul, late Tuesday, March 19, 2019, ahead of local elections scheduled for March 31, 2019.(AP Photo/Emrah Gurel). Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses the supporters of his ruling Justice and Development Party, AKP, at a rally in Istanbul, late Tuesday, March 19, 2019, ahead of local elections scheduled for March 31, 2019.
    (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel). Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses the supporters of his ruling Justice and Development Party, AKP, at a rally in Istanbul, late Tuesday, March 19, 2019, ahead of local elections scheduled for March 31, 2019.(AP Photo/Emrah Gurel). Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses the supporters of his ruling Justice and Development Party, AKP, at a rally in Istanbul, late Tuesday, March 19, 2019, ahead of local elections scheduled for March 31, 2019.
    Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has sparked a diplomatic spat with New Zealand and Australia as he campaigns for votes in local elections this month and portrays the mosque shooting in New Zealand and a...More
    Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has sparked a diplomatic spat with New Zealand and Australia as he campaigns for votes in local elections this month and portrays the mosque shooting in New Zealand and a World War I battle as targeting Islam.More
  • The Latest: Theresa May expected to make televised address

    The Latest: Theresa May expected to make televised address

    Wednesday, March 20 2019 5:01 AM EDT2019-03-20 09:01:04 GMT
    Wednesday, March 20 2019 2:12 PM EDT2019-03-20 18:12:02 GMT
    (AP Photo/Matt Dunham). An anti-Brexit supporter stands by European and British Union flags placed opposite the Houses of Parliament in London, Monday, March 18, 2019. British Prime Minister Theresa May was making a last-minute push Monday to win suppo...(AP Photo/Matt Dunham). An anti-Brexit supporter stands by European and British Union flags placed opposite the Houses of Parliament in London, Monday, March 18, 2019. British Prime Minister Theresa May was making a last-minute push Monday to win suppo...
    (AP Photo/Matt Dunham). An anti-Brexit supporter stands by European and British Union flags placed opposite the Houses of Parliament in London, Monday, March 18, 2019. British Prime Minister Theresa May was making a last-minute push Monday to win suppo...(AP Photo/Matt Dunham). An anti-Brexit supporter stands by European and British Union flags placed opposite the Houses of Parliament in London, Monday, March 18, 2019. British Prime Minister Theresa May was making a last-minute push Monday to win suppo...
    British Prime Minister Theresa May is preparing to ask the European Union for a short delay to the country's divorce from the European Union.More
    British Prime Minister Theresa May is preparing to ask the European Union for a short delay to the country's divorce from the European Union.More
Powered by Frankly

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2019 WBOC. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices