Joyce Mitchell, the Clinton Correctional Facility employee who helped two hardened killers escape a maximum security prison in upstate New York, has been sentenced to up to seven years, with a minimum of 27 months.
The escape of Richard W. Matt and David Sweet from the prison in Dannemora sparked a statewide manhunt, reported The NewYork Times
Matt was eventually killed while on the run and Sweet was seriously wounded before being captured after three weeks on the run.
"You did terrible things," Judge Kevin K. Ryan of Clinton County Court told Mitchell during her sentencing. "At any time, you could have stopped the escape from happening."
Ryan sentenced Mitchell on charges of promoting prison contraband and for facilitating criminal activity, reported WPTZ-TV
. Mitchell told the judge she felt remorse for her role, which cost law enforcement agencies $23 million in overtime costs.
"No words can explain how deeply sorry I am," said Mitchell in court. "I was scared for my husband and family's lives. I know I should have told someone...this is something I will never forget or forgive myself for."
During her arraignment, Mitchell admitted to smuggling hacksaw blades, chisels, a punch tool and a screwdriver into the maximum security prison and had planned to be the getaway driver for Sweat and Matt when they escaped June 6.
Mitchell, though, never showed up to assist the prisoners, checking herself into a hospital for a perceived anxiety attack the night of the escape.
"If I could take it all back, I would," Mitchell told the judge, according to the New York Daily News
. "I never intended for any of this to happen."
Mitchell said in an interview with NBC's Matt Lauer after she pleaded guilty that the prisoners emotionally exploited her, said The Times. The escapees allegedly told her that they would kill her husband and flee to Mexico after their escape.
"I didn't feel like my husband loved me anymore," Mitchell said. "And I guess it was just me. I was going through depression. And I guess they saw my weakness and that's how it all started."
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