Prison worker allegedly plotted for escaped inmates to kill her husband

Caitlin Dickson
·Reporter

Ahead of Joyce Mitchell’s expected court appearance Monday, reports reveal new information about the prison worker who has been accused of helping two inmates escape from upstate New York’s Clinton Correctional facility.

Both the New York Daily News and New York Post reported Monday that, according to a source, Mitchell, had planned to drive convicted killers Richard Matt and David Sweat away from the prison and to her home, where they would then kill her husband, also an employee at Clinton.

Prosecutors say Mitchell, who worked in the prison tailor shop, provided Matt and Sweat with the tools for their escape, including hacksaw blades, drill bits and chisels. The 51-year-old had allegedly planned to be the pair’s getaway driver, but backed out at the last minute and checked herself into a hospital instead, later confessing her involvement in the prison break to State Police.

“Basically, when it was go-time and it was the actual day of the event, I do think she got cold feet and realized, ‘What am I doing?’ ” Clinton County District Attorney Andrew Wylie told the Associated Press over the weekend. “Reality struck. She realized that, really, the grass wasn’t greener on the other side.”

When contacted by the Daily News, Wylie would not comment on the prisoners’ alleged plan to kill Mitchell’s husband. But the prosecutor did confirm that Mitchell had previously been investigated for a sexual encounter with David Sweat, one of the escapees, but Wylie said there had not been enough evidence to discipline her or remove her from the prison at the time.

NBC News reported Monday that, following the earlier investigation, Sweat’s accomplice Richard Matt began to work his charm on Mitchell, gaining her affection to the point that she “thought it was love,” according to sources familiar with the investigation.Sources also told NBC News that the post-it notes have been found along the prisoners’ escape route.

Though no vehicles have been reported stolen since the June 6 outbreak and investigators have reported no evidence that the two men had a backup plan for Mitchell's cold feet, the manhunt is now entering its second week. Mitchell, who was arrested by state police on Friday on a felony charge of promoting prison contraband as well as criminal facilitation, a misdemeanor, is being held on $110,000 bail. She's pleaded not guilty to the charges and is slated to make her second court appearance Monday.