NY prison guard traded art sup­plies for snitch­ing info

In­side job. Gene Palmer is ac­cused of bring­ing tools hid­den in­side frozen ham­burger meat to the con­victed killers.

Metro USA (Boston) - - NEWS -

A guard charged in the up­state New York es­cape of two in­mates said he al­lowed them into the prison’s in­ter­nal cat­walks, which they later used to flee, in re­turn for snitch­ing on other in­mates, ac­cord­ing to court doc­u­ments.

Cor­rec­tions of­fi­cer Gene Palmer said he also let in­mates David Sweat and Richard Matt change elec­tri­cal wiring so they could cook in their cells at Clin­ton Cor­rec­tional Fa­cil­ity in Dan­nemora, New York.

Palmer’s sworn de­po­si­tion was posted in a New York Times story.

Af­ter the es­cape was dis­cov­ered on June 6, of­fi­cials said Matt, 49, and Sweat, 35, used the tools to break through their steel cell walls, scurry through the cat­walks into a steam pipe and emerge from an out­side man­hole.

In the de­po­si­tion, Palmer said he pro­vided Matt, who painted por­traits, with paints and brushes and helped hide them in the cat­walk.

Palmer said he did “not in­ten­tion­ally” as­sist with the es­cape but bartered with Matt for “elab­o­rate paint­ings and in­for­ma­tion on the illegal acts that in­mates were com­mit­ting.”

Of­fi­cials searched the forests of the Adiron­dack Moun­tains in the 20th day of the man­hunt. The men were as­sumed to have weapons likely stolen from a cabin about 20 miles west of the prison, state po­lice said.

Joyce Mitchell, 51, a worker in the prison’s tai­lor shop charged with aid­ing the es­cape, al­legedly hid the tools in the meat, said Clin­ton County Dis­trict At­tor­ney An­drew Wylie.

Palmer also is ac­cused of try­ing to burn paint­ings he re­ceived, ac­cord­ing to court doc­u­ments. He is charged with tam­per­ing with ev­i­dence, in­tro­duc­ing con­tra­band into prison — both felonies — and mis­de­meanor mis­con­duct for ac­cept­ing the paint­ings, the doc­u­ments showed.

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