(PLATTSBURGH, N.Y.) — A New York prison employee charged with aiding two convicted murderers in their escape from prison was supposed to meet the pair and drive them to an undisclosed wooded area about seven hours away, according to the county’s district attorney.
Clinton County District Attorney Andrew Wylie said Joyce Mitchell had planned to meet Richard Matt and David Sweat at a power plant near the prison the night of their escape. Mitchell wasn’t told where she was then driving them but knew it was going to be a wooded area where a four-wheel drive would be needed, said Wylie.
But she never showed, instead checking into a hospital 40 minutes away complaining of a panic attack, said sources familiar with the case.
Mitchell, 51, was arrested Friday and charged with promoting prison contraband and criminal facilitation for allegedly assisting the two men in their escape from Clinton Correctional Facility on June 6.
Matt, 48, and Sweat, 35, had been rehearsing their escape for five weeks, said Wylie, who added that Mitchell had provided them with blades they had been using to cut through the back of their cell.
According to a criminal complaint, Mitchell gave Matt and Sweat hacksaw blades, chisels, a punch and screwdriver bit last month. Wylie said she also gave Matt speed bag gloves — like those used in boxing — and glasses and batteries last year after meeting him in October 2013.
Matt was serving 25 years to life in prison after he kidnapped and beat a man to death in 1997. Sweat was serving a life sentence after he was convicted of killing a Broome County sheriff’s deputy in 2002.
Authorities believe one or both men had a cellphone in prison, said Wylie. He added Mitchell told investigators she did not provide a cellphone to either of the men and the investigation has not found that they had cellphones.
Mitchell has pleaded not guilty.
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