The plan was set: Joyce Mitchell would pick up inmates David Sweat and Richard Matt after their prison breakout in a car packed with sleeping bags, tents, a fishing pole, and a shotgun, and the three would drive to kill Mitchell's husband, Lyle, before taking off for Mexico. But with just hours before she was set to leave, Mitchell sat across from her husband at a Chinese restaurant and "had a moment of clarity," a law enforcement official tells the Buffalo News. She "had a realization that this was D-Day, and the fantasy she had been living for almost a year was now becoming a reality that included the murder of her husband, who had been a good and supportive man." She decided to ignore the two pills Matt had given her to incapacitate Lyle only hours earlier in the prison tailor shop where they met frequently for sexual encounters, according to interviews with police.
"Pick us up at midnight," Matt reportedly said. "I'm going to take care of the glitch," he added, referring to Mitchell's husband, the official says. It appears Matt—who officials suspect lost 40 to 50 pounds leading up to the escape so he could fit into a 2-foot-wide pipe—and Sweat had no idea Mitchell might not turn up that night. "They had 100% faith in her," the source says. "That's why they had no Plan B." After all, Mitchell had known about the escape plan since June 2014, the source says; Sweat had reportedly told her about it before he lost his job in the tailor shop and Mitchell had helped them prepare. When the hacksaw blades she hid in frozen meat grew dull, she hid new ones in sheets of cardboard Matt used as canvases, the source says. Matt gave away some of his artwork: Gene Palmer allegedly destroyed paintings Matt gave him, but other pieces, painted gray, were rather useful: They hid the holes in his cell walls.