WILKES-BARRE — A December trial date scheduled for five men charged with causing a riot at a local state prison is still on track, a county judge said Friday.
Judge Lesa Gelb said the Dec. 9 trial will be held barring any major developments in the case of Derrick Stanley, 41, Anthony Locke, 34, Andre Jacobs, 31, Carrington Keys, 32, and Duane Peters, 41.
Police say the men covered and tied their cell doors and had to be removed from their cells at the State Correctional Institution at Dallas in 2010.
The men claim they were being retaliated against after civil complaints and complaints with several other agencies were field against several corrections officers. They said they attempted to get the attention of prison guard to talk about the injustices they were receiving.
At Friday’s hearing, Gelb said she would rule on outstanding motions before the Dec. 9 trial begins with jury selection, and that the only thing that may delay the case is a competency evaluation she ordered Friday for Peters.
Gelb ordered the evaluation based on the information that Peters believes he is the emperor of his own country and that he is exempt from facing charges in Pennsylvania.
Gelb must determine if the defendants will be permitted to present evidence that their actions were justified and if preliminary hearing testimony will be permitted to be introduced at the trial.
Locke on Friday filed a request to dismiss the charges against him based on the claim he hasn’t been brought to trial in a timely fashion.
Gelb said she’ll also rule on that motion before the trial begins.
In emails to The Times Leader, supporters of the five defendants say they have submitted a petition of about 122 signatures to the county District Attorney’s office asking for the charges against the five to be dropped.
Supporters claim that the charges should be dropped because the case is a waste of taxpayer time and money and that the charges against them should never have been charges to begin with — that the men should have been given a misconduct from the prison administration.