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Jury selection begins for Vaughn riot trial

Sarah Mueller
Delaware Public Media
A building at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in Smyrna

Jury selection started Monday in the first of several trials connected to the deadly Vaughn prison riot.

Jarreau Ayers, Derric Forney, Roman Shankaras and Dwayne Staats will be the first inmates tried in Superior Court for their alleged involvement in the February 2017 riot at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center.

According to court officials, the eighteen inmates facing charges are being split into five trials that are expected to stretch into April of next year.

The first four defendants are all charged with the murder of Correctional Officer Lt. Steven Floyd, as well as assault, kidnapping, riot and conspiracy.

Trial for these first four defendants is scheduled to begin October 22nd.


The State of Delaware Administrative Office of the Courts has released the following tentative schedule for the trials: 


Group 1: Jury Selection – October 8, 2018 to completion; Trial – October 22, 2018 to November 9, 2018


Group 2: Jury Selection – November 13, 2018 to completion; Trial – November 26, 2018 to December 14, 2018


Group 3: Jury Selection – January 7, 2019 to completion; Trial – January 14, 2019 to February 1, 2019


Group 4: Jury Selection – February 18, 2019 to completion; Trial – February 25, 2019 to March 15, 2019


Group 5: Jury Selection – March 18, 2019 to completion; Trial – March 25, 2019 to April 12, 2019


This story has been updated to include the latest information about the anticipated schedule of the trials.


Sophia Schmidt is a Delaware native. She comes to Delaware Public Media from NPR’s Weekend Edition in Washington, DC, where she produced arts, politics, science and culture interviews. She previously wrote about education and environment for The Berkshire Eagle in Pittsfield, MA. She graduated from Williams College, where she studied environmental policy and biology, and covered environmental events and local renewable energy for the college paper.
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