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NY prison seamstress pleads guilty. Why did she help inmates escape?

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Rob Fountain/Reuters

(Read caption) Joyce Mitchell reacts as she appears in court to plead guilty at Clinton County court, in Plattsburgh, New York July 28, 2015.

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On June 6, convicted murderers Richard Matt and David Sweat escaped from a maximum-security prison in upstate New York and captured the attention of the nation. Days turned into weeks and the pair were still nowhere to be found. But police were not to be thwarted: On June 26 a federal agent shot and killed Mr. Matt, and a few days later Mr. Sweat was captured near the Canadian border.

Sweat may be behind bars again, but the fight is far from over. On Tuesday, Joyce Mitchell, a seamstress at the prison, pleaded guilty to several charges including promoting prison contraband, a felony, and a misdemeanor charge of criminal facilitation, Reuters reported. 

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Mitchell has told investigators that she had a sexual relationship with Matt and sent X-rated selfies of herself to Sweat. She also said that she agreed to help the men escape and then run away with them, a plan that included the murder of her husband by Matt.

She said both men were "nice" and made her feel special.

In the end, however, she said, "I panicked and couldn't follow through with the rest of the plan. I really do love my husband and he's the reason."

As Mitchell moves forward with her guilty plea, she will be facing many questions. According to a statement by New York State Inspector General Catherine Leah Scott, “Nothing short of [Ms. Mitchell’s] full cooperation will be tolerated, and I am confident that when she fulfills this obligation, I will provide a thorough and complete accounting of all the factors contributing to this elaborate breakout, with an eye toward ensuring this never happens again."

Sentencing will take place in September. 


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