Joyce Mitchell, Ex-Prison Employee, Is Sentenced

28 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Joyce Mitchell faces up to 7 years for helping N.Y. prisoners escape.

Former prison seamstress Joyce Mitchell sobbed as she was sentenced Monday to up to seven years in prison for helping two convicts escape with tools smuggled in hamburger meat. “I just don’t find that explanation credible,” Clinton County Court Judge Kevin Ryan told her as he imposed a sentence of 2-1/3 to 7 years in prison on a contraband count.

Mitchell, 51, pleaded guilty in July in a deal that allowed her to sidestep charges for an alleged plot to kill her husband and for any sexual contact with Sweat and Matt. Even though the actual sentence was already set as part of the plea bargain, Mitchell suggested to the judge that he might go easier on her, suggesting she would wear an ankle bracelet for the rest of her life. She pleaded guilty to charges related to providing hacksaw blades and other tools to Richard Matt and David Sweat, who broke out of the maximum-security Clinton Correctional Facility on June 6. Ryan noted that he had received letters from the public urging him to give Mitchell a stiffer sentence and explained she was getting the maximum for the charge in her plea.

In an exclusive interview with TODAY, Mitchell said the two men — both serving life for murder — wanted her to meet them after the escape with a getaway car. “I was supposed to come up and park by the manhole that they were gonna be coming out of. Mitchell’s lawyer objected to the sum, which will be the subject of a hearing at a later date — and he also suggested that Matt and Sweat may have had other accomplices who have not been caught. I’m just somebody that got caught up in something she couldn’t get out of.” Officials said the convicts used tools to cut their way out of their adjacent cells and get into the catwalk between the cell block walls.

A prison guard, Gene Palmer, who authorities have said unwittingly abetted the escape plot, has pleaded not guilty to a charge of promoting prison contraband. In exchange, she will waive her right to appeal and will cooperate with the continued investigation into the prison break. “Because the evidence was so overwhelming … she wanted to expedite her case proceedings and move on with the matter,” Clinton County District Attorney Andrew Wylie told reporters outside the court

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