What to Know
- Lt. Steven Floyd died in the Feb. uprising at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Facility.
- Some of the men accused of murdering Floyd are already serving time for other killings.
- The indictment became unsealed after each prisoner could be processed on the new charges.
Sixteen prisoners face first-degree murder charges in the killing of corrections officer Lt. Steven Floyd during a Delaware prison uprising earlier this year.
Nine of the accused are already convicted killers.
Besides the murder charges, the inmates at James T. Vaughn Correctional Center are also accused of injuring two other corrections officers and kidnapping a prison counselor. The charges were revealed in a New Castle County Grand Jury indictment unsealed Tuesday.
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"This was an extremely important and time-consuming investigation that involved unique challenges." Attorney General Matt Denn said. "I appreciate the police and prosecutors' focus on ensuring that justice is done for the victims in this case and their families."
The two-day prison riot at the Smyrna facility broke out in early February. Floyd, 47, was found dead after the prolonged hostage standoff. A medical examiner ruled his death a homicide by trauma.
These men face first-degree murder, first-degree assault, first-degree kidnapping, riot and conspiracy charges:
1. Jarreau Ayers, age 36 – currently serving a life sentence for Murder 1st Degree and other charges
2. Abednego Baynes, age 25 – currently serving 18 years for Murder 2nd Degree
3. Kevin Berry, age 27 – currently serving 14 years for three counts of Robbery 1st Degree and other charges
4. John Bramble, age 28 – currently serving 40 years for Possession of a Firearm During the Commission of a Felony, Assault Second Degree, Possession of a Firearm by a Person Prohibited, Possession of Ammunition by a Person Prohibited, and Home invasion
5. Abdul-Haqq El-Qadeer, aka Louis Sierra, age 31 – currently serving a life sentence for Murder 1st Degree
6. Deric Forney, age 28 – currently serving 11 years for Possession of a Firearm During Commission of a Felony, Possession of a Firearm By a Person Prohibited and drug charges
7. Kelly Gibbs, age 29 – currently serving 24 years 9 month sentence for Murder 2nd Degree
8. Robert Hernandez, age 36 – an inmate from New Mexico serving a 16-year sentence for Murder 2nd Degree in that state
9. Janiis Mathis, age 25 – currently serving 15 years for Assault 2nd Degree and other charges
10. Lawrence Michaels, age 31 – currently serving 19 years for Kidnapping 1st Degree, Attempted Robbery 1st Degree, Possession of a Firearm during Commission of a Felony and other charges
11. Obadiah Miller, age 25 – currently serving 10 years for Manslaughter and Possession of a Firearm During the Commission of a Felony
12. Jonatan Rodriguez, age 25 – currently serving 40 years for Manslaughter and other charges
13. Alejandro Rodriguez-Ortiz, age 27 - currently serving 40 years for Manslaughter and other charges
14. Roman Shankaras, age 30 – currently serving 7 years for Riot and two counts of Robbery 1st
15. Corey Smith, age 32 – currently serving 14 years for a Violation of Probation for Possession of a Deadly Weapon by a Person Prohibited, Violation of Probation for Carrying a Concealed Deadly Weapon, Attempted Robbery First Degree, Assault Second Degree, Promoting Prison Contraband
16. Dwayne Staats, age 35 – currently serving a life sentence for Murder 1st Degree
Two other inmates — both previously convicted killers — face kidnapping, riot and conspiracy charges:
1. Pedro Chairez, age 42 - an inmate from Arizona serving a 43-year sentence for Murder 2nd and other charges committed in that state
2. Royal Downs, age 52 – an inmate from Maryland serving a life sentence for Murder 1st Degree and other charges committed in that state
Each inmate was processed on the indictments before the unsealing and remain in custody, the state said.
An attorney will be provided for each of the 18 men accused in the deadly riot, Delaware's Office of Defense Services said.
"The Office of Defense Services is committed to providing each and every client with competent, conflict-free legal representation," chief defender Brendan O’Neill said. "Under our system of justice each of these persons is presumed innocent and the lawyers in the Office of Defense Services will do their utmost to protect the constitutional rights of their clients. The Office of Defense Services has no other comment at this time."
Attorneys representing the Floyd family and the other hostages' families declined comment Tuesday.