A prison seamstress pleaded guilty on Tuesday to helping two murderers escape from a maximum security prison in upstate New York last month.
Joyce Mitchell, 51, faces up to seven years for her role in the daring breakout by inmates Richard Matt and David Sweat from Clinton Correctional Facility on June 6. In making their escape, the inmates cut through the steel walls of their cells, climbed down a catwalk and through a steam pipe and emerged from a manhole outside the prison in Dannemora, New York.
Mitchell, who worked in the prison’s tailor shop, was accused of smuggling hacksaw blades and a screwdriver bit to the pair. After a massive manhunt, Matt, 49, was shot and killed by a federal agent on June 26 about 27 miles (43 km) away from the prison. Sweat, 35, was captured two days later about 2 miles from the Canadian border.
Appearing in Plattsburgh County Court in shackles and a black and white jail uniform, Mitchell wiped away tears as she signed legal documents before Judge Kevin Ryan. She pleaded guilty to promoting prison contraband, a felony, and a misdemeanor charge of criminal facilitation.
Sentencing was scheduled for Sept. 28. Mitchell had agreed to drive the getaway car in the escape but got cold feet and checked herself into a hospital with symptoms of a panic attack, authorities have said.