By Chelsia Rose Marcius Feb 24, 4: Aided by prison seamstress Joyce Mitchell, the two men sliced their way through steel cell walls, meandered through a maze of tunnels, climbed out of a manhole and walked off into the night. After nearly three weeks on the run, a border patrol agent shot and killed Matt. Two days later, a state trooper shot and captured Sweat.
Since then, New York Daily News staff reporter Chelsia Rose Marcius has spent more than hours interviewing Sweat behind bars about every facet of the escape, the manhunt and the aftermath of one of history's most thrilling prison breaks. The following is an excerpt from her book, to be released Tuesday, "Wild Escape: Weeks of working from inside the dark, dank cylinder had now come down to this one final cut.
Drawing his knees in, he pressed the soles of his boots against the rectangular section he had chiseled. The fiberglass lining cracked under his feet. Within minutes, that part of the channel gave way. Advertisement Spring weather had brought the kind of luck Sweat needed. Clinton had shut down its heating system for the season, and the pipe — its surface scalding during the winter months — had started to cool.
By May he was able to make his first incision. Using only the hook of his hacksaw blade he carved a tiny hole into its surface.
He hewed away at the metal until the gap grew large enough to fit a grown man. Satisfied with the product, he crawled into the pipe, and approximately twelve feet down he began to whittle an exit. He normally would have used a drill for this work, but he could not risk the clang of power tools. Instead, he wore the metal away one inch an hour.
Minutes turned to days, days turned to weeks, but Sweat did not care. He had nothing but time. Now, tearing through some of the remaining insulation, he edged his way out of the pipe and stood fully upright in a long tunnel, which was dim and damp from years of exposure to contained steam.
The underpass — used by Clinton contractors to access the piping system — was below Barker Street, a two-block residential road in Dannemora sprinkled with manholes. Sweat did not know the street by name, but he knew that there was a paved road directly above the pipe. He walked the length of the passageway, inspecting each of the exit points above his head.
The first two had been chained shut, so he continued toward the end of tunnel to the last manhole, which opened with minimal effort. Joyce Mitchell provided supplies for the painstaking prison break. The last thing he wanted was to pop out of the ground into someone's front lawn.
He then backtracked about two hundred yards until he arrived at one of the other manholes. The plate was secured by chain, yet Sweat was able to sever a link using what blade he had left. Placing his palms flat on the surface, he extended his arms upward, heaving the cover onto the asphalt. He then climbed the iron ladder and lifted his head just above the lip. To the south was the powerhouse. To the north was the concrete perimeter wall. He breathed in the free air of the Adirondacks. Law enforcement officers walk along a road as the search continues for two escaped prisoners from the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, on Monday, June 22, Sweat glanced at the silver watch that hung from a shoelace around his neck, its hands illuminated by a small LED light: This was the latest he had been out since beginning work on the route — and he needed to be back on the block before the guards noticed his absence.
Even with little sleep, a sense of speed swept over him. He returned the metal cover to its proper position, sprinted down the tunnel, slid back through the steam pipe, and clambered out the other side.
He then bolted toward the brick wall, removing those mortared blocks he had loosened weeks before, and scrambled through. Climbing the ladder to the catwalks, he crawled into the hole he had cut in the back wall of his cell on Clinton's Honor Block, and breathed a sigh of relief. Twelve minutes from start to finish, his fastest time yet. Sweat turned to his tiny quarters. Among the towels, pillow cases, sweatshirts, and a few other miscellaneous items a yellow Whitman's Sampler box and a Riverside Webster's II Dictionary, a paperback published in that boasted, "The Essential Reference for Successful Students" he pulled out a single Black and Mild, which he had stowed away for this very occasion.
He lit the end, grabbed a small handheld mirror, and held it through the bars of his cell so that his neighbor could see his reflection. Police stand over Sweat after he was shot and captured. AP He tapped lightly against the wall. He peered out of his own set of bars to see Sweat's dirtied face in the looking glass.
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The cigar hung loosely between Sweat's lips, which, even with the smoke between his teeth, spread into a wide, satisfied grin. I can't believe you did it! It meant the route was ready. Sweat passed a cigar to Matt, then quickly placed a basin of water onto the hot plate in his cell.
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It was well past 4: As he put on a clean pair of pants and scrubbed the calluses on his palms, now toughened from the self-appointed graveyard shift, he gave Matt explicit instructions to pass on to the prison seamstress, Joyce Mitchell: Chelsia Rose Marcius, author of "Wild Escape. The plan was clear: As Joyce Mitchell reached through the darkness to shut it off, she remembered it was Friday, the day of the week she had come to dread. She did not know yet which Friday they would carry out their plan, but she knew one thing: Matt was telling the truth when he said they were making headway on the route.
For the last six months, the fifty-one-year-old prison seamstress had dreamed of a different life from the one she was living with her husband, Lyle. Since the couple had moved into the two-story house with the rusted metal roof on Palmer Road, an extra layer of heft had settled around her waist, and the corners of her mouth had given way to gravity. Her layered, outdated 'do — its individual strands as kinked as those on the ears of a spaniel — had acquired several variations of yellow over the years, and few cosmetics had ever found a permanent place in her morning routine.
Convicted murderer Sweat, pictured moments after he was shot twice in the torso. Joyce rarely ate before leaving; it was much more pleasant to have her breakfast — today, meat and potatoes, seared and roasted the night before — while seated at her desk in Clinton's Tailor Shop 1, where she could enjoy half an hour of stillness until 8 a. Advertisement In the eight years she had been employed at the facility, Joyce — whom the prisoners knew as "Tillie," her longtime nickname dating back to her high school years — had come to welcome their company.
She especially liked the company of David Sweat, whom she considered the most talented worker among the men she supervised. Joyce had openly admired his proficiency with patterns and skill with a sewing machine. He could complete thirty to forty pairs of women's prison pants within two to three days, an impressive display of dexterity.
Watching him handle each skipped stich, broken needle, or bunched-up bit of thread with his characteristic calm confidence stirred something in her she had long suppressed.
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It had been nine months since Sweat was removed from her shop. His dismissal had brought on uncontrollable tears. A supervisor claimed Sweat made an inappropriate remark to another civilian employee, though Joyce suspected other motives for the decision. She knew of an anonymous note, penned by a prisoner and sent to Clinton's higher-ups, that insinuated she and Sweat were having illicit relations. Flirtations in the way of small gestures a touch of the arm, a gentle smile had certainly taken place between the two of them — but, as both Sweat and Joyce would later say, they had not exchanged so much as a kiss.
The Clinton Correctional Facility pictured on June 17, Now it was hardly ever, as he was no longer working under her watch. Joyce opened the passenger door to the family's black Jeep Cherokee. Our first stop is The Nubble Lighthouse in York. One of the most photographed lighthouses in the country. We continue on to Portland, Maine and the quaint Old Port. You will have time to get lunch on your own and visit the many shops of Old Port.
The original building on the site of the Bluenose Inn was constructed in as a summer estate of Mrs.
We will enjoy a plated dinner in the Rose Garden Banquet Room. The evening is free for you to enjoy the hotel. Meals Included — Dinner. Day 2 — Monday, August 6 Enjoy a buffet breakfast at your hotel meeting our professional tour guide for a narrated tour of Acadia National Park. This fully narrated, 2.
Featuring three stops within the breathtaking Acadia National Park, you will learn about the history of Bar Harbor and Acadia, the geology, the wildlife, and much more, all while taking in the stunning ocean and mountain views. Tour stops include the summit of Cadillac Mountain the highest point on the eastern seaboardThunder Hole an oceanside stopand the Jordan Pond House. Tonight, we will enjoy a traditional Lobster Bake dinner with all the fixings.
Meals Included — Breakfast, Dinner. Nestled beneath scenic Whitehorse Ledge and Cathedral Ledge, this beautiful resort hotel features a professional golf course, year-round outdoor heated swimming pool and Jacuzzi, saunas, health club and all the service amenities that make it a world-class resort. This evening you will dine off the menu and at your leisure in Ledges Restaurant, make sure you save room for dessert. After dinner you will enjoy great entertainment in the Echo Ballroom.
Experience a sense of adventure and history on the Cog Railway's 3-hour round-trip to the top of Mount Washington. This scenic train ride allows visitors to take in the spectacular panoramic view, spanning the White Mountains of New Hampshire and all of the Northeastern United States.
Make sure you wear a warm jacket. This afternoon we will have lunch on our own and visit some shops before visiting the Flume.