Seamstress: I Helped Convicts 'to Save My Family'

Joyce Mitchell says prisoners knew where they lived
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 14, 2015 12:42 PM CDT

The former prison seamstress who helped two murderers escape in New York in June says she did so out of fear for her family. Richard Matt and David Sweat had discovered where her mother and older son lived, and Joyce Mitchell felt she was in too deep to refuse their demand for help, she tells Matt Lauer in an interview airing today and Friday. The prisoners had also gotten close with other prison workers, she notes: "Who could I tell? Who could I trust? ... I was only trying to save my family." She says Matt and Sweat first started reeling her in via charm and flirtation during a vulnerable time. "I was going through a time where I didn't feel like my husband loved me anymore. I was going through a depression, and I guess they saw my weakness," she says. "And that's how it all started. Their attention made me feel good. ... I got a little too comfortable."

She says Matt forced himself on her: "Mr. Matt had grabbed me a couple of times and kissed me. And then there was one point where he ... wanted me to perform oral sex on him. And I said no. And when I said no, he grabbed my head and pushed me down," she says, though "there was never any actual sexual intercourse." Nor was there any love: She says Matt once told her, "You know, Joyce, I do love you," and she responded, "I love my husband." "There was never any love between myself and Mr. Matt," she says. As for Sweat, she insists "there was never any sexual contact between us whatsoever," though she said in signed police statements that she took X-rated selfies for him. She says their requests of her were small at first (smuggled cookies and brownies) but later turned serious, with the duo asking for hacksaw blades, a drill bit, and a chisel. Click for more from the interview. (More escaped criminal stories.)

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