Inmate charged in 2017 Delaware prison riot dies

Kelly Gibbs had pled guilty this week to riot, kidnapping and conspiracy charges in connection to the February 1-2, 2017 riot at Vaughn. (File/WHYY)

Kelly Gibbs had pled guilty this week to riot, kidnapping and conspiracy charges in connection to the February 1-2, 2017 riot at Vaughn. (File/WHYY)

Kelly Gibbs, one of the 18 inmates charged in connection with the February 2017 prison riot at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in Smyrna, Delaware, has died.

A news release from the Delaware Corrections Department said Gibbs was being housed at Howard R. Young Correctional Institution in Wilmington. He was found dead at 2:45 a.m. Thursday. The release stated foul play was not suspected and his family had been notified.

Gibbs had pled guilty this week to riot, kidnapping and conspiracy charges in connection to the February 1-2, 2017 riot at Vaughn, where corrections officer Steven Floyd was killed while held hostage by inmates.

Gibbs was incarcerated at Vaughn in 2008. He was serving a 24-year sentence for second-degree murder, firearm possession, and promoting prison contraband, among other charges.

The trial for the first group, comprised of three inmates, ended this week with two of the three found guilty on charges connected to the riot.

During the trial, inmate Royal Downs testified that Gibbs was his cellmate and that after the call went out that Floyd had been injured, Downs testified that he saw Gibbs with blood on his clothes.

Jury trials will continue in groups of four for the next few months. A new jury will be selected for the next round of trials after the Thanksgiving holiday.

The department spokesperson said the Delaware State Police are investigating the circumstances surrounding Gibbs’ death, and his body had been turned over to the Delaware state Division of Forensic Science, which is considered routine practice.

The Associated Press and WHYY reporter Zoe Read contributed details to this story.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.