Echoes of Shaw­shank

Re­cap­tured con­vict likens dar­ing prison break to 1994 movie

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS -

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.

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