In 2015 one of the biggest crime stories of the year was of the prison seamstress, Joyce Mitchell, who helped two convicted murderers escape from Clinton Correctional Facilities.
Mitchell was seduced by both Richard Matt and David Sweat, when the married mother-of-three smuggled tools to the inmates in frozen hamburger meat, helping them to escape the Clinton Correctional Facility on June 6, 2015, according to People Magazine.
Mitchell supplied the inmates with a drill bit and hacksaws that she smuggled in meat. With theses tools they cut holes in their cells, hacked their way through underground pipes, and crawled out through a manhole, according to NBC News.
Mitchell allegedly brought the items to the prison on May 1.
Matt was overweight and couldn’t stuff himself inside the 2-foot-wide pipes, investigators said. The convict went on an extreme diet and dropped 40 to 50 pounds.The slimmer Matt and Sweat completed a test run the night before the big escape. They made it to a manhole outside of the prison, but retreated because it was too close to some homes, investigators said. They’d find a more remote manhole the next night, they decided, according to New York Daily News.
“The escape is on. Pick us up at midnight,” Matt allegedly told Mitchell on June 5. He gave her two pills to slip to her husband that would incapacitate him and make him easy to kill, Mitchell told officers, reported the Daily News.
With the two convicted killers on the run, Mitchell was arrested and charged with helping the inmates. A guard at the Correctional facility Gene Palmer, was also arrested for admitting to police that he helped in their escape. Palmer, told police in a statement that he helped the inmates, Richard Matt and David Sweat, because Matt gave him “elaborate paintings” and information on illegal acts by other inmates, reported NBC News.
“At the last minute Mitchell panicked, she said, checking herself into a hospital rather than showing up to drive the getaway car. But that didn’t stop the two inmates”, according to The Washington Post.
“She couldn’t go through two inmates’ master plan to escape from their cells and kill her husband as the couple shared a would-be last meal at a Chinese restaurant — just hours before she was supposed to meet up with the convicts, while sitting down at the meal with Lyle Mitchell, she decided she couldn’t watch him die”, reported the Daily News.
Without Mitchell’s car, Sweat and Matt tossed their original plan to flee to Mexico. Instead, they hid in upstate New York, close to the Clinton Correctional Facility they broke out of June 6.
After the two escaped from prison the guards didn’t notice until the 5:00 a.m. bed check, then the biggest manhunt in New York history commenced.
Once they were caught, Matt was shot and killed on June 26. Sweat was captured alive two days later in Constable, upstate New York.
Joyce Mitchell was sentenced to at least 7 years in jail.
For more on the story you can watch the Lifetime movie “New York Prison Break: The Seduction of Joyce Mitchell”, premiering on April 23. If you missed it Lifetime will be showing it all week.