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Captured Prison Escapee David Sweat Is Back In Jail

David Sweat gave investigators several details about the escape from his hospital bed in Albany after he was captured.

Last updated on July 5, 2015, at 10:15 a.m. ET

Posted on June 26, 2015, at 4:28 p.m. ET

The surviving convict who escaped a New York maximum-security prison last month is back in jail after being released from an Albany hospital.


David Sweat was transferred from the Albany Medical Center to the Five Points Correctional Facility, a maximum-security prison in Romalus, early Sunday morning, the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision said in a statement.

Sweat will be housed in a single cell and placed on active suicide watch, the department said.

Sweat told investigators that he and his co-conspirator Richard Matt had done a dry run the night before the actual escape, CNN reported.

Eric Thayer / Getty Images

Sweat, who spoke to investigators from his hospital bed in Albany, also said he was the mastermind behind the elaborate escape.

Clinton County District Attorney Andrew Wylie told CNN that the two convicted murderers hatched their plan back in January and spent five months planning and preparing for their escape. Then, the night before the big getaway, they made a practice run.

During the practice trip, Sweat said they came up through a different manhole than the one they wound up using the next night. The plan was altered when the two noticed there were too many houses near the initial manhole, Wylie said.

"To make a dry run and...have the ability to escape, and then go back in, it is a little baffling," Wylie said to CNN.

Senior staff at the Clinton Correctional Facility in upstate New York were placed on administrative leave last week, officials said, following the dramatic end to the three-week manhunt.

Mark Lennihan / AP

Three members of the prison's executive team and nine security employees were placed on leave, according to a statement from the New York Department of Corrections and Community Supervision.

Prison Superintendent Steven Racette and Deputy Superintendent for Security Stephen Brown were among those placed on leave, the Times Union reported, citing "people briefed on the matter but not authorized to comment."

Michael Powers, president of the New York State Correctional Officers & Police Benevolent Association, which represents the prison's staff, called for patience as the "complex investigation" continues.

"Our members continue to do their jobs inside and outside of those prison walls at Clinton Correctional Facility. They do it with a high degree of professionalism and dedication despite daily adverse conditions," he said in a statement.

It comes after the FBI reportedly launched an investigation into possible corruption among prison staff at New York's Clinton Correctional Facility, multiple outlets reported Monday.

Citing "law enforcement officials briefed on the probe," CNN reported the probe would investigate "possible drug trafficking and other criminal behavior among prison employees and inmates."

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday the two escaped inmates had intended to head for Mexico before their plans went awry.

New York State Police / Reuters

Speaking on the public radio show Capitol Pressroom on Monday, Cuomo said the pair had intended to flee to Mexico, before prison worker Joyce Mitchell, who allegedly agreed to assist the men in their escape, backed out of the plan.

Mike Groll / AP

“They would kill Mitchell’s husband and then get in the car and drive to Mexico, on the theory that Mitchell was in love with one or both of them,” Cuomo said.

The governor said the pair decided to head for Canada after Mitchell allegedly backed out.

He said the pair broke up roughly five days ago because Sweat believed Matt "was slowing him down," possibly due to blisters on Matt's feet.

Cuomo said Sweat had "relayed some information" since his arrest.

Police captured Sweat on Sunday afternoon, police said.

Handout . / Reuters

Richard Matt and David Sweat shown in images that were digitally altered to depict their possible change in appearance.

BREAKING: #DavidSweat of the #PrisonBreakNY captured. Sleep peacefully New York.

Sweat was shot during his capture in the small town of Constable, New York, near the Canadian border, state police said in a statement. Authorities later said he was expected to survive his injuries.

AP Photo

"At approximately 3:20 p.m. on June 28, Technical Sgt. Jay Cook, a member of the New York State Police, spotted a suspicious man walking down a roadway in the town of Constable," police said.

"Sgt. Cook shot and injured Clinton Correctional Facility escapee David Sweat. Sweat was taken into police custody alive, then taken to a local hospital for treatment of his injuries."

New York State Police Superintendent Joseph D'Amico said Cook first spotted Sweat jogging down a road about a mile and a half from the Canadian border. The trooper called out to the man, who first ignored him. Sweat then turned around, Cook recognized him, and the convicted killer fled, D'Amico said.

Cook followed Sweat through a field before opening fire, D'Amico said.

"[Cook] realized Sweat was going to make it to a treeline and possibly disappear," D'Amico said.

Sweat was struck twice in the torso, and by Sunday evening, he was expected to survive.

New York / Via

In a Sunday evening press conference, Gov. Cuomo spoke amid cheers and applause for law enforcement's efforts.

"The nightmare is finally over," Cuomo said.

Cuomo added that the investigation into the "extraordinary" escape is ongoing.

"If you were writing a movie plot, they would say this was overdone," Cuomo said.

Authorities said that during the search, they found pepper shakers, which they believe the escapees used to throw police dogs off their scent.

"We did have difficulty tracking, so it was fairly effective in that respect," D'Amico said.

CNN shared this photo of Sweat being taken into custody.

CNN obtains image of captured inmate David Sweat as he was being taken into custody. Story:

The Burlington Free Press also had this picture of Sweat receiving medical treatment.

EXCLUSIVE: Photo of #DavidSweat surrounded by authorities after being shot, captured in NY. @bfp_news #PrisonBreakNY

Albany Medical Center said Monday that Sweat did not require surgery and that his condition had improved from critical to serious Sunday night.

Facebook: AlbanyMedicalCenter

State police had been searching near the town of Malone after Matt, 48, was shot dead there by police on Friday.

Google Maps

Matt, 48, was spotted around 3:45 p.m. Friday in a wooded area near the village of Malone, close to the Canadian border, according to the New York State Police.

Matt was armed with a 20-gauge shotgun and refused to comply with orders to surrender, though he did not open fire, D'Amico said Friday.

Franklin County Sheriff Kevin Mulverhill told BuzzFeed News late Friday that police did not engage in a gun battle with Sweat earlier in the day, contrary to widespread rumors that circulated online.

A law enforcement source "with knowledge of the investigation" told the Buffalo News Sunday that the DNA of Sweat, 35, was found "in the general area" where Matt was shot.

Such a discovery would suggest the two prisoners remained together during their time on the run, until shortly before Matt's death.

More than 1,300 federal, state, and local police were searching the area, according to the Buffalo News.

The search for the two men began after they escaped from from the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora on June 6.

Police began zeroing in on Matt after a burglary at a cabin on June 20, D'Amico said Friday during a news conference. Then on Wednesday, police received reports of another break-in and found a building with a cut screen and broken window, D'Amico said.

"We uncovered evidence that Matt was present at that scene," D'Amico said.

Police also found evidence — including discarded candy wrappers — that Matt was at a camp in the woods near Malone on Thursday.

The final moments of the search happened after someone said their camper had been shot while driving on State Route 30 near Malone. Police tracked the source of the shots and ended up at a nearby cabin.

"We were able to get into the cabin, where we smelled gunpowder," D'Amico said. "There was some indication that someone recently had been there and fled out the back door."

While officers from Customs and Border Control searched the area, they "met Matt in the woods, challenged him, and he was shot dead at that time," D'Amico said.

After authorities killed Matt, a Malone police officer reportedly told a person at the scene, "One down."


Matt's autopsy results were released Sunday by the New York State Police, revealing the inmate died from "severe skull fractures and brain injuries due to gunshot wounds to the head."

"An examination of the body revealed bug bites on the lower extremities, blisters, and minor abrasions consistent with living in the woods for three weeks," police said.

"A preliminary investigation revealed a U.S. Customs and Border Protection Tactical Unit member discharged several rounds from a semi-automatic weapon striking Matt in the head three times."

Cuomo had defended the prolonged, massive manhunt, noting that both men were violent, convicted killers.

"We haven't tallied up the cost; there's no doubt it's expensive," Cuomo said. "But there's also no doubt in my mind that it's worth it."

This was outside my house moments ago #PrisonBreakNY On Route 30 going towards Malone

In recent days, authorities had focused more resources on the densely wooded area near Mountain View.

Based on what authorities found at one break-in, they also reportedly believed that one of the men was barefoot.

Police used helicopters, grid searches, and door-to-door checks and cleared empty buildings in between fielding tips from the public, nearly all of which yielded nothing.

Hugh Hill, who serves on the village of Malone's board of trustees, told BuzzFeed News that police seemed to be concentrating their search north of the city on Friday afternoon, following reports that Richard Matt had been shot. He said the area would be easier to search.

"It's mostly open farmland, which would make it difficult to conceal themselves," Hill said. "This is extremely rugged and wild territory, especially south of the village of Malone."

Mark Lennihan / AP

The pair's escape, involving power tools and alleged inside help, seemed ripped from a movie script.

With the alleged help of a civilian employee at the prison's tailor shop, Joyce Mitchell, and a prison official who was suspended on Friday, the men were able to obtain power tools and other materials necessary to stage the escape.

Mitchell has since been charged with the felony of moving prison contraband — namely hacksaw blades, chisels, and screwdriver bits.

Guards didn't realize the two were missing until a 5:30 a.m. bed check on June 6. The men had fashioned dummies out of cloth to fool guards into thinking they were asleep.

The convicted killers also obtained power tools, helping them cut a small hole in each of their prison cell walls:

NY Governor's Office


That gave them access to a six-story-high catwalk:

NY Governor's Office

They cut a hole in a two-foot-wide drain pipe, entered it, and crawled for 400 feet. They also apparently left a racist note on a pipe, prompting New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to say, "I plan on giving them back that note.”

Darren Mcgee / AP

NY Governor's Office

NY Governor's Office

The pair were then able to shuffle their way out and emerge from a manhole not far outside the prison.

Mark Lennihan / AP

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.