'Caught up in a fantasy': Prison seamstress Joyce Mitchell explains how she helped 2 murderers escape

Joyce MitchellREUTERS/Rob FountainJoyce Mitchell reacts as she appears in court to plead guilty at Clinton County court, in Plattsburgh, New York July 28, 2015.

The prison worker who just pleaded guilty to helping two inmates escape their cells in upstate New York has detailed her relationship with the convicts to police, according to documents obtained by NBC News.

“I believe I helped Inmate Matt and Inmate Sweat escape because I was caught up in the fantasy,” Joyce Mitchell, a 51-year-old who worked as a seamstress at the Clinton Correctional Facility, reportedly said.

“I enjoyed the attention, the feeling both of them gave me and the thought of a different life.”

Mitchell eventually got cold feet once the prisoners broke out of the maximum-security facility, but she appears to have been very much involved in the planning of the escape. She then failed to show up to be the duo’s getaway driver.

Mitchell reportedly told police that she knew convicted murderers Richard Matt and David Sweat planned to kill her husband and make their getaway with her.

She reportedly had a sexual relationship with both of them, sending nude photos to one and performing sex acts on the other. Mitchell told police that the prisoners told her to drug her husband, who they called “the glitch,” so that they could carry out their plot to kill him.

Mitchell detailed the plan to investigators: “These two pills were intended to knock Lyle out so I could leave the house. After Lyle was asleep, I was supposed to drive to Dannemora and meet them by the powerhouse. The agreed upon meeting time was midnight. I was to drive my Jeep and bring my mobile phone, gps, clothes, a gun, tents, sleeping bags, hatchet, fishing poles and money from a package I never picked up.”

New york convicts richard matt sweatNew York PoliceProgression photos of David Sweat (left) and Richard Matt

She said she backed out because she loves her husband.

Mitchell’s husband Lyle spoke out about the case earlier this year, telling the “Today” show that his wife admitted to giving the prisoners tools to saw through their cells and escape from the prison through pipes and back-channels.

“She said: ‘I love my husband; I am not hurtin’ him,'” Lyle told “Today.” “She said, ‘Then I knew I was over my head.’ … When it came down to her hurtin’ me, that’s when she said something was wrong. She said she was in too deep; she didn’t know how to get out of it.”

Mitchell reportedly said something similar to investigators.

As her relationship with the convicts grew, Mitchell reportedly said they made her feel special and she started doing favours for Matt, like letting him call his daughter.

She told police that Matt first kissed her in the prison tailor shop when they were alone. Matt reportedly had special privileges in the prison that allowed him more time outside of his cell.

Eventually, Matt allegedly began pressuring Mitchell for sexual favours. Mitchell said she didn’t say anything because she was “scared for [her] husband, who also works for the facility.”

Rumours also started circulating about Mitchell and Sweat, who was re-assigned away from the tailor shop Mitchell worked in. Mitchell continued communicating with Sweat through secret notes she passed to Matt, according to NBC News.

Matt then started asking Mitchell to bring him items that he and Sweat would eventually use to break out of the prison, Mitchell said. She reportedly brought them padded gloves, glasses with lights on them, a screwdriver-type bit, and hacksaw blades. They then found a box of power tools that helped them saw through underground piping to escape into a manhole outside of prison walls.

The prisoners reportedly told Mitchell what they were doing.

New York prison breakNew York State Governor’s OfficeThis photo shows the hole the prisoners cut in a cell wall to escape.
New York prison breakNew York State Governor’s OfficeThe prisoners stuck a smiley-face note on the pipe they cut open to break out of the prison.
New York prison breakNew York State Governor’s OfficeThey emerged from this manhole.

Mitchell pleaded guilty to bringing contraband into the prison and to criminal facilitation. She cut a deal with prosecutors to avoid more serious charges, according to NBC News. She now faces about two to seven years in prison.

A search team shot and killed Matt last month about 30 miles from prison. Searchers picked up Sweat two days later near the Canadian border.

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