Mitchell is sentenced to between 2 1/3 years and seven years for her part in Matt and Sweat’s escape. Before sentencing she claims that Matt threatened to kill her husband if she didn’t help him and Sweat escape.
If I could take it all back I would. I can’t begin to explain how sorry I am for all this…Why I did what I did I don’t know, other than that I was scared for my husband.
She also offers to wear an ankle bracelet for life, which Judge Ryan rejects:
Ms. Mitchell I just don’t find that explanation credible, your husband’s life just would not have been in more danger…You did terrible things. At any time, you could have stopped the escape from happening.
He also notes that New York State officials estimate the cost of the search for Sweat and Matt at $23 million.
But staggering as the economic costs to New York State may be, the economic and non-economic cost suffered by so many people is incalculable. A large portion of the population was terrorized…[Law enforcement] traversed deeply inhospitable territory, never knowing if the next step they took would be their last.
Mitchell tells Lauer on Today that she cooperated with demands for help from Matt and Sweat because Matt had threatened members of her family.
People need to know that I was only trying to save my family.
She said she was depressed because she thought her husband on longer loved her.
I was going through depression and I guess they saw my weakness, and that’s how it all started.
Mitchell says she befriended both men and brought them cookies and brownies. She eventually smuggled tools to them in bags that the prison staff failed to search. The inmates’ escape plot included Mitchell picking them up outside the prison after the breakout, but she suffered a panic attack, and her husband took her to a hospital. Mitchell said Matt and Sweat planned to kill her husband during their getaway.
Mitchell pleads guilty to helping two convicted murderers escape from a maximum security prison last month. She allegedly provided tools to Matt before the escape by concealing them in hamburger meat. She pleads guilty to first-degree promoting prison contraband and fourth-degree criminal facilitation. She faces a prison sentence ranging from 2 1/3 years to 7 years. She also agrees to cooperate with the investigation and give up her teaching certificate. The judge says Mitchell, who wiped away tears while making the plea, could be released on $100,000 cash or $200,000 bond. Mitchell will be sentenced on Sept. 28.
Mitchell details her increasing sexual contact with Matt and her deepening involvement in the plot over time. She tells her dreams of running off into the sunset with the men, only to have the fantasy unravel when she panicked on the night of the escape.
I enjoyed the attention, the feeling both of them gave me, and the thought of a different life.
Her relationship with Matt began with seemingly innocent requests for help, but soon escalated into sexual contact, including sending him nude photos to give to Sweat. Mitchell explains she had sexual contact with Matt.
I originally brought in two blades, by bending them in half and putting them in some hamburger, which I then put in the freezer. Inmate Matt asked me for hacksaw blades, he also asked for two chisels and a punch.
Sweat tells police that he and Matt conducted a practice run of their prison break the night before they disappeared. The night before they broke out, Sweat and Matt went through the tunnels and popped their heads up at a manhole, but decided it wasn’t isolated enough, so they decided to escape from a different manhole instead. DA:
To make a dry run and have the ability to escape, and then go back in, it is a little baffling.
Sweat is captured by law enforcement in Constable, N.Y. He is wounded during the capture.
Matt is shot by police officers near Lake Titus, New York. Sweat is still at large and believed to be heading to Canada.
Mitchell is arrested and charged with providing Sweat and Matt, with contraband and helping them escape Clinton Correctional Facility. The charges: first-degree promoting prison contraband, a felony, and fourth-degree criminal facilitation, a misdemeanor. Sources say Mitchell was charmed by Matt, to the point that “she thought it was love,” and planned to be the men’s getaway driver before she got cold feet. Mitchell’s husband, who also works at the prison, has not been charged.
While at a press conference with Vermont Gov. Shumlin, Cuomo says authorities in both states are on high alert for Sweat and Matt. Authorities are scouring farms and woods as well as the Lake Champlain shore line for any sign of them. Cuomo:
We have information that would suggest that Vermont was discussed as a possible location…We need to find these escapees. They are killers. They are murderers.
Law enforcement officers and police dogs fan out on the third day of a manhunt for Sweat and Matt. The New York State Police tells NBC News they have more than 300 tips. Gov. Cuomo:
These are dangerous men capable of committing grave crimes again.