Delaware Public Media

Defendant Shankaras' trial delayed in Vaughn riot case

Oct 30, 2018

The trial of one inmate allegedly involved in last year’s riot at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center has been delayed because of issues between the defendant and his counsel.



Judge William Carpenter announced Tuesday that the trial of Roman Shankaras will be severed from the three others currently underway.


Carpenter said that the relationship between Shankaras and his council had deteriorated to the point that it was impacting the fair trial of the other defendants.

Shankaras has been charged with kidnapping, riot, conspiracy, assault and murder.

He was on trial five days last week, but Carpenter says he will be now be tried by a different jury at an unspecified later date.


Shankaras' family member Lillian Oliver says that Shankaras and his counsel mutually agreed to part ways and that Shankaras did not fire him. She says that Shankaras has learned he will be assigned a new laywer, and does not intend to represent himself.


She says he has been told he will likely be tried along with the third or fourth group of defendants.

Shankaras’ attorney, Jason Antoine, filed a motion late last week taking issue with redactions to recordings of witness statements the state intended to use.

Antoine claimed the redactions had been submitted to him so late that he hadn’t had sufficient time to review them. He requested the statements be excluded from the trial or the trial be postponed.


The trials of Dwayne Staats, Jerreau Ayers and Deric Forney continue and will likely stretch into the middle of November. All three defendants have been charged with the same counts as Shankaras.


This story has been updated.