EXCLUSIVE: Escaped NY Prisoners Planned on Killing Husband of Woman Who Helped Free Them
The two killers on the lam after making a daring escape from an upstate prison planned to kill the husband of the woman accused of helping spring them, a source told the Daily News on Sunday.
The killers’ depraved plan was disclosed in a stunning confession made byprison tailor shop worker Joyce Mitchell, 51, the law enforcement source said.
“They planned on killing her husband,” the source told The News.
Mitchell was arrested Friday for allegedly providing killers Richard Matt, 48, and David Sweat, 35, with some of the tools they needed for their “Shawshank Redemption”-style escape from Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, about 20 miles south of the Canadian border.
Mitchell had planned to be the duo’s getaway driver, but got cold feet as the breakout neared, checking herself into a hospital.
She had planned to take the two murderers to her home, the source said.
“She said the plan was to pick them up and go to her house,” the source said. “She didn’t say that she was going to help them” kill her husband.
Authorities have been trying to piece together the reasons whyMitchell would risk her freedom to help the two hardened convicts.
But it’s not clear why the murderers would have targeted her husband, Lyle Mitchell, another employee of the prison’s tailor block, or how exactly Joyce figured into the scheme.
Joyce, who is suspended without pay from her $57,000-a-year job, is beingheld in lieu of $100,000 bail on charges of promoting prison contraband — a felony — for allegedly providing the men with hacksaw blades, chisels, a punch and a screwdriver bit.
She is pleading not guilty.
The prosecutor on the case, when contacted by The News, wouldn’t comment on the revelation that Matt and Sweat planned to kill Mitchell’s husband, but he did say Mitchell had talked with the two convicts about their destination plans.
The plan of the two escaped murderers was to kill Lyle Mitchell (pictured right), the husband of Joyce Mitchel, after they were out, a source said.
“She indicated that Matt and Sweat advised her it would be about seven hours away,” a place where they would need Mitchell’s four-wheel-drive Jeep, Clinton County District Attorney Andrew Wylie told The News.
Earlier Sunday, Wylie said to CNN that Mitchell told investigators she knew only where Matt and Sweat would be picked up — not where they were headed.
She did admit to authorities that she backed out because she didn’t want them to hurt her husband, Wylie said.
Wylie also said the two worked surreptitiously with tools stored in the prison by contractors between midnight and 5 a.m. over many nights, returning them to their storage places each day before anyone noticed.
“They had access, from what we understand, to other tools left in the facility by contractors under policy and were able to open the toolboxes and use those tools and then put them back so nobody would notice,” he said.
The two shocking disclosures came as the around-the-clock search for the escapees completed its ninth day.
Officials have been searching all over the upstate New york region where the prison is, and have alerted Mexican and Canadian officials to be on the lookout for them.
Hundreds of law enforcement workers have been canvassing northern New York for the escapees, shutting down roads, searching door to door, and scouring wooded areas.
“We don’t know if they are still in the area, or if they’re in Mexico by now,” Gov. Cuomo admitted when asked about the fugitives at a separate news conference Sunday.
Law enforcement personnel are in the ninth day of searching for David Sweat and Richard Matt.
A former neighbor of the Mitchells told The News he was shocked to hear the allegations that Joyce Mitchell had assisted the criminals.
“I can’t believe that she (would) even do that,” he said. “I would have never thought she would have ran off with those guys. They (the Mitchells) were happily married.”