Alleged ‘mastermind’ behind deadly James T Vaughn uprising stands trial

WILMINGTON, Del. – The first day of what’s expected to be a lengthy trial is officially in the books.

Unlike the others, Roman Shankaras is the sole inmate on trial this time, who in a letter claimed that the deadly uprising “had to happen.” Both the prosecution and defense wasted no time getting to opening arguments for Shankaras, who’s charged with several counts including murder in the first degree and kidnapping of lieutenant Steven Floyd.

The state’s arguments allege that Shankaras was the mastermind behind the deadly prison riot, and is criminally responsible for what happened back in 2017. During the argument, the state showed letters written months after the riot by Shankaras that were given to another inmate Royal Downs. The letters, detailed what happened to Lieutenant Floyd and other officers inside the prison that day. They allege that Downs was involved in talks with Shankaras about peaceful ways to protest.

But Shankaras had other ideas and continued discussion with other inmates that led to the riot. As for the defense, they argue that Downs is not credible. And he’ll say whatever he has to in order to maintain his side of the bargain after making a plea deal with the state They allege that Downs “waited for a time to strike” with the letters Shankaras wrote him to use as a business deal with the prosecution. The defense also argued that there was no DNA or or forensics connecting Shankaras to the attacks, so he could not be guilty of these crimes. Again, for this trial, the state is also asking that Shankaras be convicted of murder, since he acted as an accomplice. And in the first state you can be convicted through accomplice liability.

Officials say they expect this trial to go til at least the end of May. The trial is expected to reconvene Tuesday morning.

Categories: Delaware, Local News