Escaped inmates had sights on Mexico
Plattsburgh, N.Y. — Two convicted murderers who eluded a massive manhunt for three weeks planned to drive to Mexico after escaping prison but ended up walking toward Canada when their ride backed out — finally splitting up in their final days of freedom, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday.
David Sweat, 35, was hospitalized in serious condition after being shot twice in the torso by a trooper and captured Sunday near the Canadian border. Cuomo said Sweat has begun providing information about his escape from a maximum-security prison on June 6 with Richard Matt and their weeks on the lam. Matt was killed by officers on Friday.
Prosecutors have previously said prison tailor shop employee Joyce Mitchell got close to the men and agreed to be their getaway driver but backed out because she felt guilty. Authorities also have said they discussed killing Mitchell’s husband.
“They would kill Mitchell’s husband and then get in the car and drive to Mexico on the theory that Mitchell was in love with one or both of them, and then they would go live happily ever after, which is a fairy tale that I wasn’t read as a child,” the governor said. “When Mitchell doesn’t show up, the Mexico plan gets foiled, and then they head north toward Canada.”
Matt and Sweat apparently spent more than two weeks together roaming the thick northern New York woods. Authorities believe they traveled mostly at night and managed to procure food, a gun and other supplies from hunting camps and seasonal cabins.
Cuomo said the two men split up about five days ago. Matt had blisters on his feet and Sweat thought his 49-year-old escape partner was holding him back, Cuomo said.
The unarmed Sweat was captured Sunday about 30 miles northwest of the prison after Sgt. Jay Cook spotted him while on routine patrol. Cook shot Sweat as he fled toward a stand of trees.
Sweat had a bag containing maps, tools, bug repellent and Pop Tarts when he was shot by Cook.