Man called ‘mastermind’ of prison riot severed from trial

WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) — A Delaware inmate accused by prosecutors of being the “mastermind” behind a fatal prison riot last year has been dismissed from a trial at which he and three other inmates were facing murder and kidnapping charges.

The judge told jurors Tuesday that Roman Shankaras will be tried later with another group of inmates because the relationship between him and his defense attorney had deteriorated to the point that it was affecting a fair trial for all the defendants.

The move came after the judge canceled Monday’s proceedings so he and attorneys could deal with the issue.

The trial against the remaining three inmates resumed with testimony from convicted killer Royal Downs, who pleaded guilty to a single count of riot and agreed to testify for the prosecution.

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