Second fugitive captured near Canadian border

New York State Police officers man a roadblock on Highway 30. Picture Getty
New York State Police officers man a roadblock on Highway 30. Picture Getty
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THE second of two convicted murderers who staged a brazen escape three weeks ago from a maximum-security prison in northern New York was shot and captured near the Canadian border on Sunday, two days after his fellow inmate was killed in a confrontation with law enforcement officers, a sheriff said.

Franklin County Sheriff Kevin Mulverhill said David Sweat was shot Sunday afternoon in the town of Constable, about two miles south of the Canadian border and was taken to hospital.

Mr Mulverhill said he had no information on Sweat’s condition, whether he was armed, or how the shooting happened.

Sweat’s fellow escapee, Richard Matt, was killed in a confrontation with police officers on Friday afternoon.

Matt and Sweat used power tools to saw through a steel cell wall and several steel steam pipes, knocked a hole through a two-foot-thick brick wall, squirmed through pipes and emerged from a manhole outside the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora on 6 June.

Sweat was serving a sentence of life without parole for his part in the killing of a sheriff’s deputy in Broome County in 2002. Matt was serving 25 years to life for the killing and dismembering of his former boss. They were added to the US Marshals Service’s 15 most wanted fugitives list two weeks after getting away.

The manhunt got a lead Friday afternoon when a person towing a camper heard a loud noise and thought a tyre had blown. Finding there was no flat, the driver drove eight miles before looking again and finding a bullet hole in the trailer. A tactical team responding to the scene of the shot smelled gunpowder inside a cabin and saw evidence that someone had fled out the back door.

A border patrol team discovered Matt, who was shot after failing to heed a command to raise his hands. He was shot three times in the head, according to an autopsy.

A coroner who attended the autopsy said Matt was clean, well-fed and dressed for the elements at the time he was killed.

A pair of prison workers has been charged in connection with the inmates’ escape.

Prosecutors said Joyce Mitchell, a prison tailoring shop instructor who got close to the men while working with them, had agreed to be their getaway driver but backed out because she felt guilty for participating. Authorities also said Mitchell had discussed killing her husband, Lyle Mitchell, as part of the plot.

Joyce Mitchell pleaded not guilty June 15 to charges including felony promoting prison contraband, which authorities said included hacksaw blades and chisels.

The escape was the first in history from the maximum-security portion of the Clinton Correctional facility.