As the search for two escaped Clinton Correctional Facility inmates intensifies after 10 days, society is learning more about the lovesick 51-year old tailor shop instructor Joyce Mitchell and how she’s now battling for her own freedom – not the prisoners.
With sleight of hand, two murderers had all the tools necessary to cut through thick metal plating in their cells, make their way down a narrow catwalk, destroy a brick wall, bust their way through a manhole cover, and emerged free to frolic in the early Saturday morning dew. The hand that fed David Sweat, 35, and Richard Matt, 48, was the wayward Joyce Mitchell, 51, who in an apparent act of passion nearly threw her wedding vows out the window to chase what she thought was true love, Shawshank-style.
A pawn in two individuals’ demented game she would become, even if she carried out her plan to drive them several hours away. Instead, she’s the patsy that gets to field reporters’ questions and survive days of investigative probing with a potential end result of substantial N.Y. prison system involvement – except this time, not as the $57,000 per year instructor. In short, Sweat got an early birthday present and Joyce Mitchell got the shaft – just not the one Sweat presumably promised her.
Standing before the Honorable Judge Mark Rogers, she and her newly replaced attorney waived her initial hearing, received her next appearance date, and was escorted off. Her face resembled that of an embroiled wife with little life inside her, knowing she’s only begun her journey that will put her full circle before the very legal system she vowed to honor working within the N.Y. penal system.
NBC even reported Mitchell was previously questioned about sexual relations with David Sweat, although she’s vehemently denied any involvement with Sweat apart from her supervisory role. Add these new allegations to local media coverage that’s struck fear and anger into Dannemora residents, and one could see why Mitchell was escorted around protected by a bulletproof vest.
Another element of Mitchell’s escape aid that’s recently surfaced involves a purported plan to whack her husband and tailor shop coworker, Lyle Mitchell. Although authorities are unsure how or why Lyle got brought into this, the signs seem obvious: Joyce began receiving compliments, attention, and all the trappings of true love from Sweat that she’d always wanted from Lyle, which made the allure of fleeing with two murderers much more appealing. Could she have requested the “offing” of Lyle?
At this juncture, it appears nothing’s off the table. More charges are potential and additional arrests could be made, according to the DA’s office. Proof positive that hell hath no fury on a woman unloved.
We’re 10 days into the prison escapade, and no new leads have materialized. Governor Cuomo has suggested these two individuals are in Mexico by now, although investigators assume they’re local since no vehicles have been reported stolen, and Plan A is currently being held in Clinton County’s bailiwick. With the IG now involved and Cuomo’s future in office being questioned if the return of Sweat and Matt isn’t prompt, it would be nonsensical to think Cuomo and the DA won’t offer a sweet plea to Mitchell in exchange for testimony or further assistance. Unless she’s guilty of conspiring to kill Lyle. That’s a no-no.
Until then, Joyce Mitchell and her family will attempt to figure out what was so bad in her marriage that she felt inclined to frighten an entire community, expound roughly $10 million dollars in legal resources, and singlehandedly aid the escape of a cop killer and his cohort.
All this to fulfill her dream of once again feeling loved.
[Photo by Andrew Burton / Getty Images News]