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SMYRNA, Del. (CBS) — The trial is underway for four inmates accused in the murder of a prison guard in Delaware. Lieutenant Steven Floyd died in an uprising at James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in Smyrna last year.
Days before a deadly prison riot exploded, something had been brewing inside. That much has been relayed to a Delaware jury. The panel of 12 with six alternates got a primer Monday morning on jailhouse culture: snitching, retaliation, murder.
The riot broke out Feb. 1, 2017. And after a dozen and a half hours, corrections officer Lieutenant Floyd was found dead. He and other officers were beaten with mop wringers and stabbed with shanks.
“Suddenly and violently a group of inmates took the building over. The attack was vicious, planned and tragically effective,” said Deputy Attorney General Nichole Warren.
More than 120 inmates were housed in Building C when the overthrow occurred.
The facility lacks internal surveillance.
Prosecutors say Roman Shankaras, already jailed on a rioting conviction, was the mastermind. He is represented by attorney Jason Antoine.
“It’s been a voluminous and extremely difficult case to prepare for, just the sheer number of witnesses,” said Antoine.
Antoine claims his client wasn’t along for any killing but had planned instead to peacefully protest described deplorable conditions at the prison.
Also standing trial are Deric Forney, Jarreau Ayers and Dwayne Staats.
Both Ayers and Staats are representing themselves. Both men are already locked up for life on murder convictions.
The trial is expected to put on display an unparalleled amount of finger pointing among inmates and more than a dozen others indicted for rioting.
Peter Vieth, standby counsel for Staats, believes the defendant’s opening statement to the jury was effective.
“I think he did a good job. Seemed pretty squared away, had a tight opening,” Vieth said.
In an effort to help JTVCC staff move forward following the riot, the Delaware Department of Corrections announced they were going to demolish the building.