(DANNEMORA, N.Y.) — Joyce Mitchell, the prison tailoring shop instructor charged with helping two killers flee from an upstate New York prison, is expected to appear in court Monday as the search for the convicts enters its 10th day.
Mitchell, 51, is charged with promoting prison contraband and criminal facilitation for allegedly helping inmates Richard Matt and David Sweat escape from Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, New York, on June 6.
Mitchell had planned to meet Richard Matt and David Sweat at a power plant near the prison the night of their escape, Clinton County District Attorney Andrew Wylie said. Mitchell wasn’t told where she was going to be driving them, but knew it was going to be a wooded area about seven hours away, where a four-wheel drive would be needed, Wylie said.
But she never showed up to meet the escaped inmates, instead checking into a hospital 40 minutes away complaining of a panic attack, said sources familiar with the case.
Mitchell has pleaded not guilty.
Authorities say the escape was being planned for five weeks. According to prosecutors, Mitchell smuggled speed-bag boxing gloves and lighted glasses, along with blades, chisels and cutting tools into the facility.
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 remain unsure where the inmates might be.
“We don’t know if they are still in the area, of if they’re in Mexico by now,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.
While police are following all leads to find the men, Cuomo is expected to announce a formal investigation into the escape as early as Monday morning.
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