Escaped prisoner in serious condition after being shot during arrest

David Sweat in police custody

An escaped US murderer who was shot and arrested after a desperate dash for the Canadian border is in a serious but stable condition in hospital.

Authorities are hoping to hear how David Sweat, who was captured on Sunday, and Richard Matt, who was shot dead last week, slipped out of a New York maximum-security prison and stayed on the run for three weeks.

Sweat, who was shot twice after a state police officer spotted him within two miles of the border, had been prepared to the end. New York governor Andrew Cuomo told CNN that Sweat had a bag containing maps, insect repellent, food and other items. Sweat was not armed.

Albany Medical Centre said Sweat did not need surgery and would remain there “for at least a few days while his condition stabilizes”.

His capture ended a dramatic manhunt that began when Sweat and Richard Matt cut holes in walls of their adjoining cells at the Clinton Correctional Facility, worked their way through a maze of catwalks and pipes and emerged from a manhole in the early hours of June 6 within sight of the prison walls.

It was the first escape from the prison in more than 100 years.


Authorities want to know who might have helped them. Two prison employees have already been arrested and charged with, among other things, giving the two inmates frozen hamburger meat with hacksaw blades and other tools hidden inside.

On Friday, Matt was killed with three shots to the head after being found near a cabin in the vast wooded region where the two men are thought to have moved between hunting camps that are mostly empty this time of year.

More than 1,200 law enforcement officers had been searching for them. Superintendent Joseph D’Amico said the men may have used black pepper to throw off their scent from the dogs that tried to track them.

It is not clear when Sweat and Matt split up, but the manhunt ended on Sunday afternoon when a single police officer spotted a suspicious man jogging on a rural road near the Canadian border.

Sgt Jay Cook fired twice as Sweat ran for the treeline, worrying he might get away.

“I can only assume he was going for the border,” Supt D’Amico told reporters.

The two prisoners had cut their way out of a maximum-security prison 30 miles away using power tools.

Prison guard Gene Palmer, charged with promoting prison contraband, tampering with physical evidence and official misconduct, is due in court Monday. His attorney has said he will plead not guilty.

Prosecutors said the tailor shop worker, Joyce Mitchell, got close to the men while working with them and had agreed to be their getaway driver, but backed out because she felt guilty for participating in the escape.

Authorities also said Mitchell had discussed killing her husband as part of the plot.

Mitchell pleaded not guilty June 15 to charges including felony promoting prison contraband.

“The nightmare is finally over,” Mr Cuomo declared on Sunday – but he said many questions remained unanswered, including whether the inmates had other accomplices.

Clinton County District Attorney Andrew Wylie said Sweat will be charged with escape, burglary and other charges for his time on the run.

Sweat had been serving a sentence of life without parole in the killing of a sheriff’s deputy in Broome County in 2002. Matt had been serving 25 years to life for killing and dismembering his former boss.

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