New de­tails in New York killers’ es­cape

Los Angeles Times - - THE NATION - By Matt Pearce and Tina Susman matt.pearce@la­times.com tina.susman@la­times.com Pearce re­ported from Los An­ge­les and Susman from Dannemora.

DANNEMORA, N.Y. — As a large man­hunt for two es­caped killers stretched into its ninth day in up­state New York, Gov. An­drew Cuomo said Sun­day that “we don’t know if they are still in the im­me­di­ate area or if they are in Mex­ico by now.”

In re­cent days, searchers have fo­cused on the woods near Dannemora, where Richard Matt and David Sweat were dis­cov­ered miss- ing from the max­i­mum-se­cu­rity Clin­ton Cor­rec­tional Fa­cil­ity on June 6.

Of­fi­cials said the pair used power tools and were as­sisted by pri­son em­ployee Joyce Mitchell, 51, of Dickinson Cen­ter, N.Y. Mitchell pleaded not guilty Fri­day af­ter she was ar­rested and charged with a felony and a mis­de­meanor. Au­thor­i­ties think she smug­gled hack­saw blades and other tools to the men.

A pros­e­cu­tor said Sun­day that the men also used tools left at the pri­son by con­trac­tors over at least sev­eral nights but re­turned them to their boxes so no one would no­tice they’d been gone.

The men had scouted a tun­nel sys­tem un­der the pri­son to search for the best way out, and Mitchell was sup­posed to be the get­away driver but backed out be­cause she felt guilty and she loved her hus­band, Clin­ton County Dist. Atty. An­drew Wylie told the As­so­ci­ated Press.

“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?’ ” Wylie said. “Re­al­ity struck. She re­al­ized that, re­ally, the grass wasn’t greener on the other side.”

Mitchell was to ap­pear in court Mon­day. Wylie has not ruled out fur­ther charges against her.

Cuomo’s re­marks Sun­day in­di­cated that of­fi­cials were ap­par­ently no closer to find­ing Matt and Sweat than they were a week ago, when he an­nounced a $100,000 re­ward for in­for­ma­tion lead­ing to the pair’s cap­ture — $50,000 each — but ac­knowl­edged they could al­ready be out­side the coun­try.

“We’re fol­low­ing up ev­ery lead to the best we can,” Cuomo said Sun­day while an­swer­ing a ques­tion at an un­re­lated news con­fer­ence.

Canada is about 20 miles north of Dannemora, a vil­lage whose pop­u­la­tion of about 4,000 in­cludes the 3,000 in­mates in the pri­son.

Matt, 48, had been serv­ing 25 years to life for the 1997 killing of his boss.

Sweat, who turned 35 on Sun­day, was serv­ing life with­out pa­role for killing a sher­iff ’s deputy in 2002.

In­ves­ti­ga­tors say the men, who had neigh­bor­ing cells, cut holes out of a com­mon wall and then carved into a steel pipe.

They fol­lowed that pipe to a man­hole, emerged into a quiet res­i­den­tial neigh­bor­hood and van­ished.

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