Read my related articles. The state has NO idea what really happened. They just picked 18 inmates and said “let’s charge these guys”! It is worth noting that the only inmates convicted in the first trial were those without a lawyer!
Open the article to see the names and backgrounds of the next 4 inmates going on trial.
Meanwhile, my friend Steve Hampton continues to give prison officials the trouble they deserve with his civil lawsuit against scores of the bastards.
Excerpts from the Article:
After a protracted criminal investigation 18 inmates were charged with perpetrating the Feb. 1, 2017, riot at James T. Vaughn Correctional Center that left Lt. Steven Floyd dead and several other DOC staff members brutally beaten and traumatized.
Charges were filed in October 2017. Sixteen of the inmates were charged with riot, murder, assault, kidnapping and conspiracy and two were charges with all the above except murder.
Since then, one has pleaded guilty to all charges, one killed himself while awaiting trial, two have been found guilty and one has been acquitted of all charges.
The 13 remaining inmates were separated into three more groups, each group to be tried separately.
The next trial is set to start on Monday before Judge William C. Carpenter Jr. in the New Castle County Superior Court — barring an inclement weather cancellation. As of Friday, a jury of 12 had been selected along with six alternate jurors.
The court has had to estimate how long each trial will take in order to build a timetable. The third group’s trial is scheduled to start March 11 and the fourth group’s on May 5. The first trial, which wrapped up in November, took about five weeks from opening arguments to verdicts.
The jury found Dwayne Staats guilty of all charges except for intentional first-degree murder, Jarreau Ayers guilty of all charges except the three murder counts and Deric Forney not guilty.
All three stood accused of 11 charges each — three counts of murder related to the death of Lt. Floyd, four counts of kidnapping, two counts of assault, riot and conspiracy.
All three defenses has repeatedly slammed the quality of the state’s investigation and witness credibility throughout the trial.
After the trial, Mr. Gifford said the state offered “hardly any evidence” against his client and the acquittal was the “right result.” Referencing dozens of inmate eyewitness accounts brought by the prosecution during the trial, Mr. Gifford noted that the jury would have had to believe highly suspect testimony.
Last week, it was learned that Forney has intention to now turn around and join an already-launched civil suit against the state. The lawsuit was filed in late October by Dover attorney Stephen Hampton on behalf of more than 100 inmates housed in Vaughn prison’s C Building (the site of the riot) during the incident. The 80-page complaint alleges “inhumane conditions” at Vaughn prison and claims that for many years prior to the riot, prison personnel “illegally abused, mistreated and tortured inmates with virtually nothing being done by their JTVCC (Vaughn prison) or Department of Correction (DOC) supervisors, to stop them.” Further, the suit alleges the inmates in questions were savagely beaten during the siege of C Building and have been systematically “tortured and mistreated” in the wake of the riot. Though the 18 inmates indicted with perpetrating the riot were not originally included in the civil suit, Forney will now be added since he’s been acquitted.
“Deric has contacted us and we expect to add him to the complaint when it is amended within the next three weeks,” Mr. Hampton said last week.
Who is next?
According to the New Castle County Courthouse, the next four inmates to stand trial on Monday are Obadiah Miller, John Bramble, Kevin Berry and Abednego Baynes.
All four stand accused of murder, assault, conspiracy, riot and kidnapping and they have opted to be represented by defense attorneys. As of last week, the DOC said all four men are currently being housed at Vaughn prison.
Much of the prosecution’s case rested on inmate eyewitness testimony on account of scant hard evidence and the shaky/nondescript recollection of the victims.
As far as the victims were concerned, the assailants were unrecognizable due to masks and gloves worn during the initiation of the riot. As such, it can be speculated that the jury will struggle similarly in this case to achieve a verdict.
After three straight days of deliberation during the first trial, it seemed likely that the jury would be unable to come to consensus on several charges.
At one point during deliberation, the jury even noted to the judge that they’d reached an “impasse” and one juror had announced their intention to not return the following day, even if a verdict was not reached.
However, at the final hour, the jury found consensus and delivered verdicts on all charges.
Several requests for clarification during the process suggested the jury had been struggling to navigate the concept of “accomplice liability.”
Broadly, accomplice liability enables a person to be held criminally responsible for acts committed by a different person if they aided, assisted or encouraged the commission of the crime. Much of the prosecutions case against the first three defendants fell under the umbrella of this principle.
Testimony by inmate eyewitnesses is expected to again form the bulk of the prosecution’s case, however, Miller’s DNA was one of the few pieces of concrete evidence discovered at the crime scene.
During a statement given by a DNA expert during the first trial, it was revealed that some of Miller’s blood was found among the blood spattered inside a utility closet where Lt. Floyd had been held captive.
Though the first trial offers a preview of the approach the prosecution hopes to use, how the new jury will interpret the state’s case remains to be seen.