Joyce Mitchell was arrested on Friday for helping convicted murderers Richard Matt and David Sweat escape from a maximum security prison in New York a week ago. She was charged with providing material assistance to the escapees, according to information shared in a press conference. She has also been charged with promoting prison contraband in the first degree, which is a class D felony, and criminal facilitation in the fourth degree, which is a class A misdemeanor.
“There is some information that [Mitchell] provided some form of equipment or tools” to the convicts, Clinton County’s District Attorney Andrew Wylie said in an interview with CNN.
Other reports say Joyce Mitchell did not provide power tools, but other contraband instead. CNN says that a prison employee provided hacksaw blades, glasses with lights on them, and drill bits to the two escaped prisoners.
Authorities believe Joyce Mitchell was supposed to act as the getaway driver for Richard Matt and David Sweat–picking them up in her car when they emerged from the man hole in the street from which they exited the prison. She reportedly suffered a case of nerves and checked into the hospital instead.
Prison worker Joyce Mitchell faces up to 8 years if convicted of charges related to 2 killers' escape. http://t.co/zBqLJ9p8qc
— CNN Breaking News (@cnnbrk) June 13, 2015
Joyce Mitchell has been a ‘person of interest’ ever since the two men were discovered missing from the Clinton Correctional Facility.
It is also believed that Joyce Mitchell’s cell phone was used in conjunction with the prison break, although it’s not yet clear to whom many of the calls were made.
MORE: Joyce Mitchell, 51, arraigned on felony charge of promoting prison contraband and a misdemeanor: http://t.co/FFvRk0BcCD
— The Associated Press (@AP) June 13, 2015
The escaped prisoners were last seen at 10:30 p.m. on Friday, June 5th, before they escaped from the maximum-security unit at the prison in Dannemora, New York. Their escape was the first since the prison opened back in 1845.
New York prison worker accused of helping inmates escape pleads not guilty http://t.co/tNFMNcaeUm
— Huffington Post (@HuffingtonPost) June 13, 2015
Joyce Mitchell has pleaded not guilty to the charges. She was ordered held in jail on $100,000 cash bail or $200,000 bond, and is due back in court on Monday morning. She faces up to eight years in prison if found guilty for her crimes.