Echoes of Shawshank
Recaptured convict likens daring prison break to 1994 movie
WHILE the world picked out the parallels between last month’s upstate New York prison break and The Shaw
shank Redemption, the two murderers behind the escape were fully in on the joke.
David Sweat, the former Clinton Correctional Facility inmate who was captured on June 28 after a gripping 22 days on the run, has revealed to investigators he and fellow escapee Richard Matt couldn’t help but compare their efforts to that of the fictional story in the 1994 Hollywood film which starred Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman. Officials told the The New
York Times they even joked that while it took Robbins’ character Andy Dufresne 20 years to escape, it would only take them 10.
In the end, it only took them about six months.
Sweat, who was serving a life sentence, revealed in stunning detail how he and his sidekick worked on their escape by first cutting holes in their cells with a saw in January before plunging into the “catacomb- like” tunnels beneath to hunt for an escape route. The nightly subterranean treks began after the 11.30pm headcount.
Sweat would crawl into his hidden, makeshift hole and squeeze through a series of pipes down several floors into the tunnels.
He returned before 5.30 each morning, undetected by prison guards.
The exploits involved digging through walls, sawing into steam pipes, and Sweat had a second set of “work” clothes he kept in the tunnel to hide the dirt on his clothing.
Sweat even showed some MacGyver- like creativity.
On one occasion, he improvised with a fan using power from his cell to beat the blistering heat being emitted from the steam pipes.
The pair spent countless hours working through the winter until they found their escape route.
Eventually, after roaming many pipes, they found one that would take them to freedom and they cut a large enough hole for them to cram through and make their exit.
After their escape – which they had given far less thought to – the duo eventually split and Matt was found and killed on June 26 when he refused to drop his gun.
Two days later, police arrested Sweat near the Canadian border after first shooting him.
He delivered his accounts from his hospital bed, and is now being held in solitary confinement at a prison in Romulus, New York.
An investigation into the prison is ongoing. Two prison workers have already been arrested, including Joyce Mitchell, who is alleged to have agreed to be Sweat and Matt’s getaway driver before getting cold feet and backing out.
Richard Matt & David Sweat.