Pretty much to be expected, given that the State does not know what really happened, with conflicting testimony “out the wazoo”!  Since the C O, Floyd, was killed, the jury probably felt they should convict someone of murder. 

I have had hundreds of jury trials, and I assure you: we shall never know the truth about this incident. Read related posts.

NOTE: the defendant with a lawyer was acquitted of all charges, the other two each had several guilty verdicts. I have seen inmates make this mistake often – going to trial without a lawyer. That always is stupid! I bet that if those two defendants had an attorney, the state would not have gotten any murder conviction, and the convictions obtained would have been for lesser charges. But pro se defendants usually do not ask the Judge to instruct the jury on lesser charges. The law is complicated, going to trial is tricky (I have had at least 700 trials – lost two), and the law library in prison is a disaster. READ http://www.citizensforcriminaljustice.net/tragic-prison-law-libraries/  – Prison “law libraries”: They are a disaster! 

We already know that one cannot believe anything said by Geoff Klopp, president of the Correctional Officers Association of Delaware. The guy is a lying jackass, interested ONLY in getting more money in D O C staff’s pockets.

Reviewing the breakdown of the charges and the verdicts at the end of the article, it seems to me the trial was a resounding loss for the State, and that many of the guilty charges were based on “accomplice liability” law, not always fair, which says if you were there, you are guilty, irrespective of whether you actually committed a crime.

After all, the “biggie” was the charge of murder. When Floyd was killed D O C personnel came out thumping their (inmate-abusing) chests, saying “We are charging 18 inmates with murder!” And they got only one. 15 more await future trials.

Defense counsel should have argued jury nullification to the jurors.

We will never know – kra

Excerpts from the Article:

 

One of three defendants was found guilty of murdering Lt. Steven Floyd during a deadly riot at James T. Vaughn Correctional Center last year. After a nearly four-week trial, a New Castle County jury found Dwayne Staats guilty of first-degree felony murder, first-degree murder of a law enforcement officer, kidnapping, assault and conspiracy.

Staats was found not guilty of intentional murder in the first degree. Jarreau Ayers was found not guilty of any of the three murder charges but guilty of kidnapping, assault and conspiracy. Deric Forney was found not guilty of all charges against him.

“If there is no other basis to hold Mr. Forney, he should be released,” Judge William C. Carpenter Jr. told the court.

The trial was the first of what will be a string of prosecutions against inmates who prosecutors claim were involved in the deadly February 2017 siege of Vaughn prison near Smyrna. Perry Phelps, the Delaware Department of Correction commissioner who was sworn in on the day the deadly riot began, said he felt justice had been served with Tuesday’s verdict.

State prosecutors had no comment on the verdict, other than that the jury worked very hard, and they will begin preparing for the upcoming cases.

Geoff Klopp, president of the Correctional Officers Association of Delaware, said the union is “dissatisfied with the results.” He hopes prosecutors “will dig in extra hard and turn over whatever stones they can to bring justice and comfort to the correctional officers of the state of Delaware.”

Staats admitted he planned the takeover to force Delaware Gov. John Carney to hear inmates’ protests about prison conditions. Ayers said he was there helping inmates with medical conditions during the nearly 18-hour standoff.

Forney denied any involvement. After the verdict, his attorney, Ben Gifford, reiterated that his client maintained his innocence throughout the trial, “and he is thankful that the jury came to the same conclusion.”

Asked what he thought was missing in the prosecutors’ case to convict Forney, Gifford said: “Evidence.” “I don’t think there was nearly enough evidence,” Gifford said. “I mean two witnesses out of over 100 to say that he did anything.”

For the jury, it came down to a question of which inmates to believe – those standing trial or those taking the witness stand against them.

Prosecutors relied on the accounts of 11 inmates who had been inside the prison to call Ayers and Staats the leaders of the prison takeover and Forney as their “soldier.” Those witnesses tied Ayers and Staats to planning the uprising and facilitating events through the 18-hour hostage standoff.

Ayers and Staats characterized the inmate witnesses as liars seeking a benefit in exchange for their testimony. Ayers’ and Staats’ cross-examination of their former prison inmates was at times personal. They knew each other and often referred to each other by nicknames, like Jay Bird, Poncho, Burner and Smoke.

“What happened to Sgt. Floyd is a tragedy and it shouldn’t have happened, but so was this investigation,” said Ben Gifford, who represents Forney. Gifford and the defendants characterized the investigation as “sloppy.”

There were no cameras in the building. Of the blood-stained clothes and shanks Delaware State Police tested, there were no forensic matches to any particular defendant currently on trial. Prosecutors argued additional testing would likely not have yielded useful information.

Staats and Ayers said they had no personal hand in the violence. Some inmate witnesses told a different story. Witnesses testified that Forney attacked a correctional officer in the initial moments of the uprising. Staats testified that he planned the uprising and violent overtaking of correctional officers. He argued that Floyd’s murder was not part of the plan and was carried out by men who splintered off what he said was a plot to draw attention to the conditions of Delaware’s prisons.

Ayers was characterized by prosecutors as a facilitator of Staats’ plan. Inmate witnesses said he played a role in gathering lockerboxes to block the doors, ordering inmates in from the yard after the building had been taken over and making decisions about who got to leave the jail during the hostage standoff.

The charges
Dwayne Staats:

Count 1 – riot: guilty
Count 2 – first-degree murder, intentional: not guilty
Count 3 – first-degree felony murder: guilty
Count 4 – first-degree murder of a law enforcement officer: guilty
Count 5 – first-degree assault: guilty
Count 6 – first-degree assault: guilty
Count 7 – kidnapping: guilty
Count 8 – kidnapping: guilty
Count 9 – kidnapping: S guilty
Count 10 – kidnapping: guilty
Count 11 – conspiracy: guilty
Jarreau Ayers:

Count 1 – riot: guilty
Count 2 – first-degree murder, intentional: not guilty
Count 3 – felony murder: not guilty
Count 4 – murder of a law enforcement officer: not guilty
Count 5 – assault: guilty
Count 6 – assault: guilty
Count 7 – kidnapping: guilty
Count 8 – kidnapping: guilty
Count 9 – kidnapping: guilty
Count 10 – kidnapping: guilty
Count 11 – conspiracy: guilty
Deric Forney:

Count 1 – riot: not guilty
Count 2 – first-degree murder, intentional: not guilty
Count 3 – felony murder: not guilty
Count 4 – murder of a law enforcement officer: not guilty
Count 5 – assault: not guilty
Count 6 – assault: not guilty
Count 7 – kidnapping: not guilty
Count 8 – kidnapping: not guilty
Count 9 – kidnapping: not guilty
Count 10 – kidnapping: not guilty
Count 11 – conspiracy: not guilty

The Whole Story