Escaped convicted murderer David Sweat, 35, who led law enforcement on an almost month long chase has been shot and taken into custody.  Earlier today, about 1,300 officers were searching vehicles at roadblocks and scouring upstate New York.  Police used ATVs, helicopters, canines, even infrared vision to track the escaped inmates down.   A NY State Police sergeant spotted Sweat and when he fled shot and wounded him.  Initial reports state Sweat was not armed.  He was taken into custody in Constable, NY close to the Canadian border where police believe the escaped inmates were headed.  Sweat was taken to Alice Hyde Medical Center for treatment, his condition was not immediately clear.  Sweat escaped with Richard Matt, who was shot and killed Friday.  After Matt was killed, law enforcement officials said that it was crucial that Sweat survive so that they can learn exactly how the escape occurred and who else may have been involved.  Search teams that look for prison escapees often include highly trained medics, according to former Navy SEAL and CNN commentator Jonathan Gilliam.

Sweat had been convicted of killing a police officer who pursued him after a robbery and was serving life without parole.  Matt was serving 25 years to life for killing and dismembering his boss after he fired him.  While planning their escape, Sweat and Matt developed a friendly relationship with a prison tailor and a prison guard.  The pair brought them tools in order to facilitate their escape.  The men used the tools to cut their way through multiple obstacles and underground passages before emerging through a manhole outside the prison.  They were discovered missing during a bed check.

Since the pair broke out of the maximum security prison Clinton Correctional Facility authorities were hopeful after encountering Matt that they were close to tracking down Sweat.  Searchers had at times followed footprints they believed to be the men’s, but when they came upon Matt, 49, and killed him, there was no sign of Sweat.

Matt and Sweat escaped sometime between 10:30 p.m. on June 5th and 5:30 a.m. on June 6th.  A few days later, police using canines picked up the scent of the two escapees a few miles from the facility.  Prison tailor Joyce Mitchell was charged on June 12th with 1st degree promoting prison contraband and 4th degree criminal facilitation.  She faces up to 8 years if convicted.  On June 15th news stations reported that the police were running out of leads and the trail was going cold, but this appears to be either untrue or a ruse by the police in case the men were watching coverage of the manhunt.

According to reports, Mitchell and Matt had a long affair starting in 2013.  Matt escaped from prison with the intent to murder Mitchell’s husband or at least that is what he told Mitchell.  Mitchell’s husband also worked at the prison.  And he knew of the alleged murder plot, but said that his wife refused to help them.  He also told the media that he knew nothing about an affair.  By June 21st, the police wrapped up their search near the Pennsylvania border and began focusing on upstate New York.  The next day, police zeroed in on a burglarized cabin about 20 miles from the prison.  In the cabin, DNA matching Matt and Sweat was discovered along with items possibly left behind by them.

Officer Gene Palmer was arrested and charged in connection with the investigation as well.  He was charged with promoting dangerous prison contraband, destroying evidence, and official misconduct.  Matt was a longtime prison informant to Palmer.  He supplied Palmer with information that helped prison officials keep other prisoners and guards safe.  Matt also gave Palmer gifts like paintings in exchange for additional privileges.  Palmer maintains he did not intentionally help the pair escape.  He brought the food that the tools were hidden in to Matt’s cell.  However, he did not follow prison protocol and bypassed metal detectors that should have discovered the tools.  After the men escaped, Palmer attempted to destroy all the gifts given to him by Matt.

On June 26th, a resident of Malone, NY found an open bottle of gin on his kitchen table.  At 1:30 p.m. that same day, shots are fired near Route 30.  A person towing an RV heard a loud noise and thought that they had blown a tire.  The driver found nothing, drove for 8 miles and then discovered a bullet hole.  They called 911 reporting a bullet hole in the camper. A tactical team responded to the scene of the shooting smelled gunpowder and entered a nearby cabin where they found evidence someone had fled out the back.  At 3:45 p.m. in a wooded area in Malone, Matt is shot and killed by police during a shootout.  He had reportedly said previously that he would never go back to prison alive.

Two days later, Sweat was taken into custody.

During the investigation, police followed nearly 1,000 leads and searched more than 10,000 acres.  Neither men were wearing prison garb when captured, Matt and Sweat were both dressed for the elements in camouflage outfits and heavy boots.  They were both well-fed and clean.  It is believed that the many hunting cabins in the area were used as shelter and scavenged for supplies by the men.  Matt was carrying a 20—gauge shotgun, which he probably stole from a cabin, when he was confronted 30 miles west of the prison.  The Franklin County Coroner Brian Langdon reported, “He looked clean and well-kept,” he may have even shaved at one point.  He had minor abrasions and bug bites, but he certainly wasn’t succumbing to stress of little sleep, rugged terrain, scant food, or bug bites as police had hoped.  “I would say he was in very good condition, physically.”


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