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.
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.
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 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.