JTVCC Riot Trial Week 4: Defendants testify

WILMINGTON, Del. – In New Castle County, it appears the trial for the first round of inmates accused of murdering Lt. Steven Floyd is nearing a close after lasting for almost a month.

On Tuesday, the State rested and the defense’s witnesses took the stand. All of the defendants also testified.

The biggest testimony, though came from Dwayne Staats, who admitted that he was the mastermind behind the prison riot. On the stand, Staats said he was the one who came into the counselor’s office with a knife and put a mask over her head, in what he says was a signal for the takeover to begin.

Staat’s said he never intended for anyone to get hurt, he just wanted attention to be brought to how inmates were being treated. On top of all that, Staats claimed that even though he was the planner, he was not involved in what happened to Lt. Floyd. He said his goal was to get his hands on the walkie talkie and ask for demands.

The State cross examined him, pressuring him to answer questions. He claims he didn’t hurt anyone but he didn’t care what the other inmates did to get the uprising done. Beyond that, he said the murder was an isolated incident from the takeover, blaming the other inmates.

According to one of Staat’s witnesses, inmate Curtis Demby says that Staats proposed the idea of the prison takeover. Through Demby’s testimony, he says that Staats never said violence.

Apparently, Staats was asking lifers, or those serving for life, to participate since they had less to lose.

Beyond that, the State also mentioned that Lt. Floyd was stabbed over 250 times, beaten on his head with a fire extinguisher, and had burning objects thrown on him. The State kept pressing on Staats, if this was his plan, how could he not of known this was happening to Lt. Floyd.

As for Jarreau Ayers, he said, “I didn’t assault anyone, kill anyone or take hostage of anyone.” DeShawn Drumgo, one of Ayer’s witnesses, says that he didn’t see Ayers commit any acts.

The State also was able to get some clarification that the inmates would go to Ayers through inmate Luis Clark, in order to get on a list to leave the facility. This goes back to a previous testimony from one of the state’s witnesses that Ayers acted a facilitator and shot caller.

Another inmate on trial is Deric Forney but both Staats and Ayers said that Forney was not involved in any of the activity. On the stand, Forney said he did not beat or strike any officer.

As far as who is responsible for Lt. Floyds death, Staats and Ayers said only six inmates had to do with his death and the beating of the other correctional officers. However they would not give up their names.

Categories: Crime, Delaware, Local News