Joyce Mitchell, the prison employee who helped convicted killers David Sweat and Richard Matt escape Clinton Correctional Facility, has pleaded guilty.
According to Reuters, Joyce Mitchell is accepting the consequences of participating in the escape. She faces a maximum of seven years in prison for one felony count and one misdemeanor charge. Joyce Mitchell struck a deal with prosecutors on Tuesday after confessing to lending aid to convicted murderers Richard Matt and David Sweat in their escape from a maximum security facility. As part of the deal, Joyce Mitchell will not be charged with sexual assault or rape in response to accusations that she helped the prisoners in exchange for sex.
Mitchell’s attorney, Stephen Johnston, spoke to the press about her decision to plead guilty and emphasized the fact that Joyce Mitchell was a victim in the scheme of the prisoners.
“She realizes that she made a horrible mistake,” he said. “Matt got her to feeling good about herself, better than she had in a long period of time, and she was swept off her feet a bit. Then when she realized who she was dealing with, everything changed.”
Matt had earned a reputation for his good looks, charm, and charisma, but always had a dark side to him. One of the detectives who helped in his prosecution remembered Matt in his youth and was concerned for his safety after Joyce Mitchell helped him escape. Authorities say Joyce Mitchell was even talked in to driving the getaway car, but never followed through due to a panic attack.
According to Yahoo News, the prison employee was so taken up in Richard Matt’s words that she almost considered killing her husband as part of the escape plot, but ultimately only decided to smuggle hacksaws and escape tools to the prisoners.
After they escaped, the criminals popped out of a manhole cover in the yard of a stranger in a suburb, who screamed at them to get off his lawn without realizing they were both convicted killers. Richard Matt was later found and gunned down by police, while his accomplice, David Sweat, was shot and captured alive. Neither of the prisoners could have escaped Clinton without the help of the prison employee.
Joyce Mitchell wept in front of the Plattsburgh County Court as she signed legal documents for Judge Kevin Ryan. She is scheduled to be sentenced on September 28.
How do you think Joyce Mitchell should be punished for helping the convicted killers?
[Photo by G.N. Miller – Pool, Mike Groll / Getty Images]