The first trial is scheduled to begin today in Manteo of one of four inmates charged with the death of four prison employees at Pasquotank Correctional Institute during an October 2017 failed escape attempt.
Mikel Brady faces four counts of first degree murder in connection with the deaths of Correction Enterprises Manager Veronica Darden, 50; corrections officers Justin Smith, 35, and Wendy Shannon, 49; and maintenance mechanic Geoffrey Howe, 31.
The inmates allegedly attacked the workers on Oct. 12, 2017 and set fire to their work area. Darden and Smith died that same day, while Shannon and Howe died days later from their injuries. Another 10 employees and four inmates were hurt.
Attorneys for the four defendants requested changing the venue to outside the First Judicial District, but were only granted a move from Pasquotank to Dare County.
Wisezah Buckman, Seth Frazier and Jonathan Monk will have their trials at a later date, also in Dare County Superior Court, with Buckman currently scheduled to be in court next March.
Resident Superior Court Judge Jerry R. Tillett will preside over the trial of Brady, who was serving up to 24 years for the attempted 2013 first degree murder of a state trooper in Durhman County.
District Attorney Andrew Womble said he will seek the death penalty for all four inmates, no matter the outcome.
“I can’t stop them from coming in and pleading guilty to first-degree murder,” Womble told The Daily Advance on Friday. “But that is not going to stop me from trying to impose the death penalty.”