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This story is almost too strange to be true; the weird thing is that not only is it true but when the TV mini-series (Escape at Dannemora) was being made, they had to find ways to make it seem more logical. Why? Because a married, 50-something woman slept with two prisoners at New York's Clinton Correctional Facility. That part is the only logical part of this sordid tale.
Joyce Mitchell, whom friends and coworkers called Tillie, worked as a seamstress in the prison. She was tasked with supervising some of the prisoners as they did some sewing. One of those men was David Sweat. At some point, Sweat and Mitchell began having an affair. Mitchell's husband, Lyle Mitchell, also worked at the prison and somehow did not hear of the affair. Or at least he didn't comment on it or leave his wife. After being tipped off by one of the other inmates, Sweat was moved from the job assignment and given another one.
Shortly after Sweat was moved, Mitchell began another affair, this one with Richard Matt. One detective described Matt as being “well-endowed," but there is no word on how that information got out. After Mitchell was dickmatized (a real condition!) Matt persuaded her to get him and Sweat the tools that they needed to escape.
The trio started to plan their lives after leaving the prison. One of the first things that the men agreed to do was murder Mitchell's husband. Killing people was not something that was new to the men, that was the reason that both of them were in prison. After that, they would live the rest of their lives on the run. Though it has not been stated, the natural assumption would be that Sweat and Matt would continue to share Mitchell in bed.
Maybe that's what they told her at least, but the men had no intention of taking the older woman with them anywhere. It's been said that “They both played her,” and made her feel special in order to get what they wanted. If a convict can't be trusted, then who can be?
One of the detectives said that Mitchell would not have made it out of the ordeal alive if something hadn't kept her from driving the getaway car. David Favro, Clinton County Sheriff, said “Joyce Mitchell, in my mind, would have just been luggage and would have slowed them down,” It makes sense that they would have gotten rid of her. They wanted their freedom and probably did not want to continue sharing a bed partner or perhaps they were sleeping together and didn't want a third?
Whatever the case is, Sweat and Matt escaped from the prison and left Mitchell to answer for her part in it. Favro theorized that by ditching the former prison employee, Sweat and Matt also gave themselves time to find a hiding spot. “In reality, she was the fallout that was going to take the heat off.” Which definitely worked in their favor, at least for a while. Mitchell was caught first and had to wear a bulletproof vest to her arraignment because the community was not pleased with her because she helped two dangerous men escape. Like they never helped two murderers escape, after getting dicked down by them. Favro said, “I can’t have those people fully informed and lining up outside ready to throw stones or, even worse, shower us with bullets.”
While Mitchell was receiving death threats and on the other side of the bars, Sweat and Matt were heading towards their shelter. They had found an isolated hunting lodge that was a 40-minute hike, and that one would have to know about or it would be difficult to find. Once the cops were tipped off that is where the men were staying, they got there to find the men had indeed been there, but seemingly took off. There were pairs of the men's underwear and prison outfits scattered on the floor.
Matt gave himself away by trying to hijack a camper. One shot was fired to try and get the driver to pull over but instead, the person called the police and alerted them that Matt had a gun, and was near the Canadian border. They tracked the smell of gunpowder to a nearby cabin. State Police Superintendent Joseph D'Amico told reporters, “There was indication that someone had recently been there and had fled out the back door." This was the beginning of the end for Richard Matt. He was found soon after with a shotgun; police warned him to drop the weapon and surrender himself. He did not, so he was shot and killed.
Police suspected that Sweat was with his Eskimo brother (if they were not lovers), though they were not together in this instance. The murderer was found in the same area as his buddy, and like Matt, he was shot. However, David Sweat survived and was hauled back to prison, this time a maximum security prison. For his part, Sweat is not apologetic about the escape, and in fact seems to be quite proud of it. He told author Chelsea Rose Marcius that he had done enough time in his opinion and that he was ready to be out of jail. Judge be damned. Sweat is still in Five Points Correctional Facility.
Joyce Mitchell for her part is apologetic for the role that she played in this story. Though she doesn't think that she should take all the blame, she is depressed and was being starved of love. “A lot of people go through [depression],” She also added that she was quite submissive to Matt and his big cock, “He was good at that, And I just got in over my head. And I couldn’t get out. And I couldn’t tell anybody. I couldn’t tell my husband. Couldn’t tell my family. I couldn’t tell my co-workers.” She didn't want to share that dick. It's what dickmatization will do to a person.
What a wild ride this was. A prison love triangle (quadrangle, if Mitchell's husband is included), an escape, mental illness, and action. It's the stuff that Hollywood stories are made of. There was no happy ending for any of the main three players, though. Does that make this a tragedy?