One of the two killers who escaped from the Clinton Correctional Facility was shot and killed Friday and cops were hot on the heels of the other.
Richard Matt was gunned down south of the town of Malone, N.Y. near Lake Titus, sources said.
The Buffalo News said Matt was killed during a “shootout,” suggesting that Matt might have
returned fire. The paper said the FBI was involved and no members of law enforcement were injured.
Investigators had warned earlier that Matt he might have gotten his hands on a weapon from one of the hunting cabins he had broken into while on the run.
Matt was reportedly shot close to Lake Titus near Malone, N.Y., about 40 miles from Clinton Correctional Facility, where they escaped June 6.
Fellow escapee David Sweat remained at large and was also believed to be armed. But he had a thousand cops and corrections officers chasing him through the thick woods in the area. And their dogs had reportedly picked up his scent.
Police had been searching for the pair for 21 frustrating days and they considered Matt, who turned 49 while on the lam, especially dangerous.
A smooth-talking con with a flair for painting portraits and a career criminal, Matt was serving 25 years to life for torturing, killing and dismembering a former boss.
Sweat, 35, is also a stone-cold killer. He was serving life without parole for killing a sheriff’s deputy.
New York State Department of Corrections officers and a forest ranger (l.) search an area in Owls Head, N.Y., Friday for convicted murderers Richard Matt and David Sweat.
Earlier, police reported they might be trying to make a run for the Canadian border as they scoured an area north and west of the prison in Dannemora, N.Y.
“We have no reason to believe they are in Canada yet,” said Maj. Charles Guess of the New York State Police.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police was already on the lookout for them and has established a “picket line” of guards along the border, he added.
Police tracked them to Malone after finding items they believe were discarded by the escapees in a burgled cabin, the major said.
Guess did not describe the items, which have been sent to a lab for DNA testing.
“They probably have every reason to keep going,” Guess said. “The items that we have found have been significant.”
Investigators know which way the prisoners might be heading because the latest find is about 11 miles northwest of hunting camp in Owls Head, N.Y., where the inmates’ DNA was found on a peanut butter jar, discarded prison-issue underwear, and other items.
Authorities search a barn in Owls Head as police shifted the focus of their three-week search closer to the Canadian border.
Guess said they believed the inmates were moving mostly at night and subsisting on food and basic supplies they’ve stolen from the area’s many hunting camps.
Investigators had also warned the Canadians that Matt and Sweat could be armed.
Joyce Mitchell, the civilian worker who supervised the cons in prison tailoring department, has been charged with aiding their escape by supplying them with tools. She is now in jail.
Mitchell, 51, was also supposed to drive the getaway car when they broke out on June 6, but she got cold feet and checked into a hospital instead.
Investigators said she had sex with both Matt and Sweat — allegations that her husband, Lyle, insists are not true. He too works at the prison.
Cops have also charged a veteran state corrections officer named Gene Palmer with promoting contraband, official misconduct and other charges. He admitted he allowed the inmates to tinker with the electrical boxes behind their cells and even supplied the tools.
But Palmer insisted he didn’t know they were planning to escape. Nor, he said, did he know that a shipment of frozen hamburger he handed over to Matt and Sweat had power tools hidden inside.