NY Prison Escape: Officer Charged With Assisting Inmates In Escape

NY Prison Escape: Officer Charged With Assisting Inmates In Escape
Barbed Wire in Winter Rennett Stowe / Flickr CC BY 2.0
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A corrections officer from the Clinton Correctional Facility in upstate New York, who allegedly assisted the escape of two convicted murderers earlier this month, faces three felonies and a misdemeanor charge.


Officer Gene Palmer, 57, has been charged with one count of promoting contraband, two counts of destroying evidence and one count of official misconduct, the attorney representing Palmer, Andrew Brockway, said.

According to Daily Mail, Brockway said, “They are low-level felonies.

“Mr. Palmer has been completely cooperative with the investigation. He will continue to cooperate. He’s a man of integrity who made some mistakes.”

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The prison guard stands accused of handing a screwdriver and a wrench to inmates – and now escapees – Richard Matt and David Sweat to fix electrical breakers in the catwalk area behind their prisons. Palmer assisted Matt and Sweat in the work and then took the tools, which were discovered at Palmer’s home after his home was searched, back at the end of his shift, according to CNN.

Brockway expressed on Wednesday that he did not expect Palmer to be charged.

Brockway said, “If you talk to the district attorney, the district attorney was surprised these charges came. We were both caught off-guard.

“My client has been fully cooperative. He has been providing all information that has been asked for and I’ve been told by the state police investigator that that cooperation saved him from an aiding and abetting charge which is the charge that Joyce Mitchell is facing.”

Clinton County District Attorney Andrew Wylie said Palmer took the hacksaw blades, screwdriver bit and other tools that were put inside the meat and then placed in the shop’s freezer by Joyce Mitchell, working in the prison tailor shop.

As Palmer was placed on leave, he couldn’t be aware there were tools in the meat, Wylie told ABC News. The same was reiterated by Mitchell.

Mitchell has been accused of promoting contraband and a misdemeanor charge of criminal facilitation; she has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Although she was suspected of having a relationship with Sweat, with whom she allegedly had sex with, before he and Matt escaped prison, the allegation couldn’t be confirmed as there was not enough evidence to support it. Officials were investigating whether she had sex with any other inmate other than Sweat.

Both Matt and Sweat were serving their respective sentences on charges of murders. Matt had kidnapped and beaten a man to death in 1997, and was given a sentence of 25 years to life; while Sweat was sentenced life imprisonment for killing a Broome County Sheriff’s deputy.

The convicts had escaped from the Clinton Correction facility in upstate Dannemora on June 6. They had allegedly used the catwalks while escaping.

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