SMYRNA, Del. — A long and costly trial is likely as Delaware prosecutes inmates charged in February’s fatal prison uprising.

The News Journal of Wilmington reported Saturday that only one of the 18 defendants can be represented by a public defender. That means private attorneys must be hired to represent the other 17 inmates to avoid any possible conflicts of interest.

Costs could run into the millions. The Public Defender’s Office gets only $4.6 million a year to hire outside attorneys.

Legal observers say the defendants have little reason to plead guilty. Several are already serving long prison terms or life sentences.

Authorities say the inmates took four hostages at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in Smyrna. Sixteen are charged with first-degree murder in the death of Lt. Steven Floyd, a corrections officer.


Information from: The News Journal of Wilmington, Del., http://www.delawareonline.com

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