A manhunt involving more than 200 law enforcement officials is underway for two convicted killers who escaped from Clinton Correctional Facility sometime Friday or Saturday evening. David Sweat, 34, and Richard Matt, 48, were housed in adjoining cells and used power tools to escape, according to The Wall Street Journal. The two prisoners are the first to break free of the 150-year-old facility, which is about 170 miles north of Albany. So, who are the men who escaped the New York prison?
“They are killers. They are murderers,” Cuomo told ABC News. "There’s never been a question about the crimes they committed, and our first order of business is apprehending them.” He told Good Morning America officials are still investigating how the prisoners obtained the power tools and says it still remains a mystery as to how they weren’t heard by anyone in the prison.
In 2002, Sweat was convicted
of killing a Broome County, New York, sheriff’s deputy after stealing rifles and
handguns from a Pennsylvania home, according to ABC News. He is as being described as 5 feet, 11 inches and 165 pounds
and having brown hair and green eyes, with tattoos on his left bicep and right
fingers. He was sentenced to life in prison.
Matt’s prison record appears to have a history of jailbreaks. In 1986, Matt broke out of the Erie County Jail, where he had been serving one year for assault. He was caught and returned to jail to finish his sentence. He was back in prison in the 1990s, where he served three years for attempted burglary and was released in 1997. Later in 1997, Matt was convicted of killing his former boss, William Rickerson, who The New York Times reported was beaten to death and dismembered. Matt was convicted in 2008.
Before his trial, Matt fled to Mexico, where he got into an altercation outside a bar and fatally stabbed a man. Matt was serving a sentence of 25 years to life at the time of this past weekend's prison break. The New York Times reported Matt had no chance for parole before 2032. He is described as being 6 feet tall and weighing 210 pounds. He has black hair and hazel eyes and a tattoo on his chest and shoulder that reads, “Mexico Forever.” He has a Marine Corps insignia on his right arm.
Dannemora Mayor Michael Bennett said Sunday there were blocks on “every corner and road,” leading out of the 1,700-person community and that continue out 15 miles toward the next-largest community in Plattsburgh, New York, according to The Wall Street Journal. Residents of the community, where the prison is one of the largest employers, have not been asked to vacate their homes. Bennett says the wooded rural area is one where many people often camp.
State police have asked anyone with information to call police at 518-563-3761.
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