Joyce Mitchell's husband opens up about escaped killers

Jun 23, 2015 11:38 AM by News Staff

The husband of Joyce Mitchell said Tuesday in an interview he is "absolutely 100 percent" certain he and his wife would have been killed by the two escaped murderers she's accused of helping break out of a New York maximum-security prison.

Lyle Mitchell told NBC's "Today" show that if his wife had gone through with David Sweat and Richard Matt's plan to have her pick them up in the couple's vehicle after the June 6 escape, the convicts would have killed them. He said the inmates offered to give her pills that would have knocked him out.

Lyle Mitchell said if just his wife had shown up with the vehicle, the convicts would have killed her "within a half hour." The husband isn't suspected of having aided the escape.

He said when he learned of his wife's alleged involvement, he was full of "disbelief, shock." He also claimed his wife insisted she did not have sexual relations with Matt, as investigators have alleged.

"She swore on her son's life that definitely, 'Never have I ever had sex' [with Matt or Sweat]," Lyle Mitchell said.

Lyle Mitchell said that after his wife's admissions he still loves her but is not sure whether he is going to take her back.

Sweat and Mitchell remain at large Tuesday, with police searching an area 20 miles west of Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora.

CBS News correspondent Anna Werner reports investigators are focused on a remote area near a hunting cabin.

A local restaurant owner, Terry Bellinger, said a costumer told him he saw a stranger fleeing his cabin.

"He said there was a water jug that they normally don't use and then it sounded like a jar of peanut butter had been opened," Bellinger said.

Bellinger said investigators questioned the man at his restaurant, and he was visibly shaken "with all the news of the fugitives on the run there."

Sources confirmed to CBS News that evidence discovered at that cabin showed a DNA match to at least one of the escaped prisoners.

A local newspaper, The Press Republican, reported that police found boots and bloody socks. The paper said the cabin is leased by several correction officers.

Over 2,000 leads have poured in since the fugitives have been on the run.

"It has generated a massive law enforcement response as you see and we are going to run this to ground," said Major Charles Guess.

Over the weekend, a second employee at the prison, Corrections Officer Gene Palmer, was questioned by authorities and suspended.

"He definitely did not plan to help them escape and had no prior knowledge that they were going to attempt an escape," his attorney, Andrew Brockway said.

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