Prison riot trial jury continues deliberations

WILMINGTON — As of Friday afternoon, after approximately seven hours of deliberation, the jury in the Vaughn prison riot trial had not yet arrived at a verdict.

The trial will decide the fate of the inmates charged with perpetrating the riot at James T. Vaughn Correctional Center last year that left Lt. Steven Floyd dead.

The indicted inmates are being tried separately in five groups. The first group consists of inmates Dwayne Staats, Jarreau Ayers and Forney. All three stand accused of murder, assault, kidnapping, riot and conspiracy.

Staats and Ayers have opted to defend themselves with the assistance of state-appointed counsel. Forney is being represented by defense attorney Ben Gifford.

Both Ayers and Staats were already serving life sentences before being charged with crimes related to the riot.

Forney, who stands to lose the most if a guilty verdict is delivered, was serving 11 years related to possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony.

They all face mandatory life sentences if found guilty of murder.

Around 4 p.m. on Friday, Judge William C. Carpenter Jr. dismissed the jury for the day.

They’re expected to continue deliberating next Monday morning at the New Castle County Court House.


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