US prison worker pleads guilty in escape of 2 killers

Published July 29, 2015
Plattsburgh: Joyce Mitchell appears in a court here on Tuesday.—Reuters
Plattsburgh: Joyce Mitchell appears in a court here on Tuesday.—Reuters

PLATTSBURGH: A US prison worker pleaded guilty on Tuesday to smuggling hacksaw blades in frozen hamburger meat to two killers who later broke out in a brazen, elaborate escape that captured the world’s attention for more than two weeks.

Joyce Mitchell, a tailor shop instructor at Clinton Correctional Facility in northern New York state, was jailed shortly after the elaborately staged June 6 escape of Richard Matt and David Sweat. Matt was shot and killed by searchers June 26, about 30 miles west of the prison; Sweat was captured near the Canadian border two days later and sent to another prison.

Mitchell, 51, faces a sentence of 2 1/3 years to 7 years in prison under terms of a plea deal with prosecutors. A sentencing date was not announced. Her lawyer said his client won’t be able to post the bail set by the judge at $100,000 cash or $200,000 bond.

Mitchell was suspended without pay from her job when she was arrested June 12.

She admitted providing hacksaw blades, chisels, a punch tool and a screwdriver to Matt. Authorities say she became close to the pair, agreed to be their getaway driver and even discussed killing her husband. But she backed out at the last moment, forcing Matt and Sweat to flee on foot after they emerged from a manhole near the maximum-security prison.

Investigators also said Mitchell had discussed killing her husband, Lyle Mitchell, as part of the plot.

Published in Dawn, July 29th, 2015

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