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Escaped prisoners planned to flee to Mexico

Governor Andrew Cuomo
Gov. Andrew Cuomo announces the end to the search Sunday for two inmates who escaped from Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, NY.

The two convicted murderers who escaped from Clinton Correctional Facility had initially planned to drive to Mexico.

In an interview with the public radio program “The Capitol Pressroom,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo says that captured inmate David Sweat has started to divulge some details to police about his escape with fellow prisoner Richard Matt.

Sweat was shot and captured by New York State Police Sunday afternoon. He is at the Albany Medical Center and is in serious condition.

The governor said that Matt and Sweat’s escape plan all hinged on the help of the prison tailor shop employee who has now been arrested.

Credit Governor Andrew Cuomo / Flickr

"So the plan was to head to Mexico, which would have been aided by Joyce Mitchell's vehicle. They would kill Mitchell's husband and then get in the car and drive to Mexico on the theory that Mitchell was in love with one or both of them. And then they would go live happily ever after,” said Cuomo.

Matt had experience in Mexico, having fled there years ago after murdering his boss in western New York.

"When Mitchell doesn't show up, the Mexico plan gets foiled. And then they head north towards Canada,” the governor said.

But as the two convicts were heading toward the U.S.-Canada border during the three weeks they were on the run, Sweat eventually felt Matt was slowing him down.

“Sweat actually disengaged from Matt about five days ago," Cuomo said.

Matt was shot and killed by law enforcement Friday afternoon.

The governor said Matt may have been slowed by blisters on his feet, which authorities suspected he had after finding bloody socks in a hunting camp the two escapees spent some time in. The blisters were confirmed in a preliminary autopsy released Sunday. Or, Cuomo said, Sweat may just have been able to move faster because he is younger and in better physical condition.

Sweat was apprehended a mile-and-a-half from the Canadian border, after confronting a NYSP sergeant, running and then being shot by the sergeant twice in the torso.

Sweat was transported to Albany Medical Center on Sunday. The hospital as upgraded his condition to “serious” Monday morning. In a written statement, the hospital said Sweat's condition did not require any surgeries, but that he will remain hospitalized there for at least a few days.

More of this interview with Gov. Cuomo can be heard on “The Capitol Pressroom” at 8 p.m. Monday on WRVO Public Media.