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New York Prison Employee Accused in Escape Plot Moved to New Lockup

Saturday, 13 Jun 2015 04:02 PM

A New York state prison employee charged with helping two murderers carry out an elaborate escape last week was moved on Saturday from a cell in the facility where she worked to a county jail about 165 miles (266 km) away, authorities said.

Joyce Mitchell was transferred from the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, where she worked as an industrial training supervisor, to Rensselaer County Jail to the south near Albany.

Prosecutors allege Mitchell helped facilitate the escape by providing the inmates with tools such as chisels and hacksaw blades. She was arraigned Friday on two counts of promoting prison contraband and criminal facilitation. She entered a not guilty plea. If convicted, she faces up to 8 years in prison.

The move was made to reduce tensions over her possible involvement in the escape by Richard Matt, 48, and David Sweat, 34, the Clinton County Sheriff's office said.

A massive manhunt for the two entered its eighth day on Saturday. More than 800 local, state and federal officers are searching thick woods, homes and other outposts near the maximum security facility, 20 miles (32 km) south of the Canadian border, New York State Police said.

The focus of the search was on an area near a highway that leads from Dannemora to Plattsburgh, about 14 miles away, state police said on Friday.

Sweat and Matt escaped the 3,000-inmate prison late on June 5th or early on June 6, using power tools to cut through a steel wall, maneuvering over a catwalk, drilling through bricks and crawling through a steam pipe to a manhole on the street.

The complexity of the escape had led to speculation the men had come up with a smooth getaway plan. Possible sightings have been reported from across the border in Canada to Philadelphia.

But on Friday, New York State Police Major Charles Guess told a news conference there was no evidence the men had made it far from the prison.

Mitchell had previously been investigated by prison officials after she was accused of having an improper relationship with Sweat, who was serving a life sentence for killing a sheriff's deputy, Clinton County District Attorney Andrew Wylie said.

However, there was not enough evidence to bring disciplinary action, he said.

The 51-year-old woman, who was due back in court at the Clinton Correction Facility on Monday, could face additional charges, authorities said.

Clinton County Sheriff David Favro told Plattsburgh's Press-Republican newspaper it seemed wise to move Mitchell away from the prison where she worked while the search was underway.

"There a lot of staff with family and friends involved, and we thought it best to have the least amount of distractions," he said.

The breakout from the maximum security section of the Clinton Correctional Facility was the first in its 150 year history.

© 2017 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

 
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A New York state prison employee charged with helping twomurderers carry out an elaborate escape last week was moved on Saturday from a cell in the facility where she worked to a county jail about 165 miles (266 km) away, authorities said. Joyce Mitchell was transferred...
prison, escape, jail, worker, arrested
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2015-02-13
Saturday, 13 Jun 2015 04:02 PM
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