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N.Y. Prison Escapee David Sweat Tells Officials Plan Was to Go to Mexico

by Elizabeth Chuck /  / Updated 

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Two New York convicts planned to go to Mexico after breaking out of their maximum-security prison, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday.

But the men had to improvise and head north toward Canada instead when their getaway driver got cold feet.

Richard Matt was shot and killed by law enforcement last Friday. David Sweat, the surviving escapee, was shot and captured Sunday afternoon in northern New York, and is now in stable condition and reportedly revealing details of his daring jailbreak to authorities from his Albany hospital room.

"He has relayed some information which actually confirms part of what we knew and brings a different light to it," Cuomo told WCNY, a public broadcasting station in central New York. "Apparently the original plan was for both Matt and Sweat to go to Mexico."

Two prison employees have been arrested in connection with the escape.

Related: Prison Escape Drama Ends With One Cop and Two Shots

They include Joyce Mitchell, 51, an instructor in the prison tailor shop who developed a relationship with Matt, sources told NBC News after her arrest.

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

"Then they would go live happily ever after — which was a fairy tale that I wasn't read as a child."

Police have said Mitchell checked herself into a hospital on the day of the escape with a "case of nerves."

"When Mitchell doesn't show up, the Mexico plan gets foiled," Cuomo continued.

The two killers split up about five days ago, the governor said. That explained why only Matt's DNA was found in the last couple of cabins in camping areas of northern New York where law enforcement suspected one or both escapees had broken into to take shelter during their three weeks of freedom.

"Sweat felt that Matt was slowing him down, as a matter of fact," Cuomo said. "Now we know that Matt had blisters on his feet."

Related: New York Prison Escape: How It Happened, and How It Ended

Authorities found bloody socks that likely belonged to Matt, 48, in the cabin near where he was captured by the town of Malone after a camper found a bullet hole in a trailer, Cuomo said. A tactical team closed in on Friday on Matt, who had a 20-gauge shotgun, and shot him three times in the head, according to an autopsy.

Sweat, 35, told law enforcement he was long gone by then, Cuomo said. When he was spotted by a sergeant on Sunday afternoon, he was in Constable, New York, a couple miles from the Canadian border.

"Sweat was a younger man and he was fit, so about five days before, they had broken up. He wasn't at the cabin when Matt was firing, and that's why he was [found] further north."

Sweat was transported to Albany Medical Center after being shot twice in the torso by New York state trooper Sgt. Jay Cook, who spotted him jogging. He will not need surgery, said the director of Albany Medical Center.

Related: Sgt. Jay Cook, Who Shot Fugitive Killer David Sweat, Hailed a 'Hero'

"He was observed and treated for his injuries overnight. As of Monday morning (June 29), his condition has been upgraded to serious, reflecting an improvement from his condition Sunday night," medical director Dennis McKenna said in a statement.

McKenna said Sweat was evaluated by a trauma surgeon, an intensive care doctor, and other specialists.

Prosecutors said he will be charged with escape in the first-degree, though the penalty will be a moot point since he is already serving life.

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