Joyce Mitchell, the former prison worker who helped convicted murderers Richard Matt and David Sweat escape from the Clinton Correctional Facility in upstate New York back in June, was sentenced to up to seven years behind bars Monday, as NBC News reports.
The 51-year-old signed a deal in July and agreed to plead guilty for her part in the manhunt that lasted 23 days, cost the state almost $23 million, ended with Matt's death and Sweat's recapture, and alternately terrorized and intrigued denizens of the Empire State. Mitchell was charged with promoting prison contraband and criminal facilitation after she admitted smuggling tools to Matt and Sweat in frozen meat.
In her signed confession, the former prison tailor-shop supervisor confessed to using her access to sneak the prisoners hacksaw blades, chisels, and a screwdriver.
Mitchell told the court that she helped them escape after Matt threatened to kill her husband, but her confession unearthed a strange tale of secrets and seduction in which she got close to both prisoners and even engaged in a physical relationship with Matt.
Mitchell had even had agreed to be the getaway driver, but she apparently backed out at the last minute, forcing the murderers to make their break on foot.
Mitchell will also face a hearing in November on the prosecutors' request that she pay more than $120,000 in restitution to the state.
As he handed down the sentence Monday, Judge Mark Rogers rebuked the idea that Mitchell was acting to protect her husband. "Ms. Mitchell, I just don't find that explanation credible," he said.
Mitchell can take solace in the fact that her husband, Lyle, is standing by her. But doing time after being in a position of authority in the state prison system probably won't be easy.
"If I could take it all back I would," Mitchell told the court Monday. "I live with regret every day and will for the rest of my life."