APNewsBreak: Prison riot defendant pleaded guilty months ago

DOVER, Del. (AP) — One of 18 Delaware inmates charged in a deadly prison riot entered a guilty plea months ago, a development not noted in court records until this week.

Fifty-three-year-old Royal Downs, serving a life sentence for murder, entered the plea Dec. 4, shortly after he and other inmates were indicted in connection with the February 2017 riot. A transcript of the plea hearing was docketed Tuesday.

Downs, labeled by other defendants as a “rat” and “snitch,” is one of only two inmates not charged with murder for the death of prison guard Steven Floyd.

Downs, who will be a key prosecution witness, is being held at an undisclosed location separate from the other defendants.

Jury selection for the first four inmates to be tried in the case begins Monday.

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