NY Prison Break: Gene Palmer Charged For Helping Richard Matt And David Sweat Escape For Art Supplies
Gene Palmer, a prison guard who worked at the Clinton Correctional Facility, has been charged for helping provide tools to escapees Richard Matt and David Sweat.
Gene Palmer Exchanged Art Supplies For Prison Intel
Palmer, 57, was officially charged with one count of promoting contraband, two counts of destroying evidence and one count of official misconduct this week for his role in the New York prison escape.
Palmer is the second prison worker to be charged with regards to the prison break, the first being Joyce Mitchell. Unlike Mitchell, however, Palmer maintains he did not have any knowledge of the escape plan and claims he did not help knowingly. However, similar to Mitchell, Palmer allegedly formed a sort of rapport with Matt and Sweat. Palmer is now being accused of relying on Matt and Sweat for information on fellow prisoners, while Mitchell has been accused of inappropriate relationships with both Matt and Sweat. Palmer’s friendly relationship with Matt extended so far that he allegedly provided him with art supplies, including paint and paint brushes.
“Matt provided me with elaborate paintings and information on the illegal acts that inmates were committing within the facility. In turn, I provided him with benefits such as paint, paintbrushes, movement of inmates, hamburger meat, altering of electrical boxes in the catwalk areas,” Palmer allegedly told investigators.
According to Palmer, he provided convicted killers Matt and Sweat with tools – at least one screwdriver and one wrench – so that they could complete work on “electrical breakers” in the catwalk area behind their cells. It is believed that Matt and Sweat escaped through those same catwalks. Palmer told investigators that he supervised Matt and Sweat while they worked and always collected the tools before the end of his shift. The tools in question were later found in Palmer’s home by the police.
Palmer is believed to have destroyed paintings given to him by Richard Matt, but the details of these allegations are unclear. He is also the guard accused of allowing frozen meat to go to Matt and Sweat without going through the metal detectors. This is allegedly how Mitchell smuggled in tools to the prison inmates to facilitate their escape.
Palmer’s attorney, Andrew Brockway, has told reporters that Palmer has been completely cooperative with investigators and maintains he knew absolutely nothing about the planned escape or the tools hidden in the frozen meat.
“Mr. Palmer has been completely cooperative with the investigation. He will continue to cooperate. He’s a man of integrity who made some mistakes,” Brockway said.
Brockaway admitted that his client was responsible for letting the frozen meat and hidden tools into the prison, but added that Palmer only did it as a favor to Mitchell – the two were both longtime employees of the prison. Brockaway claimed that Palmer had no idea the meat contained contraband. “Before he handed off the meat, he asked if there was anything wrong with it and she said no… The only mistake he made was trusting Joyce Mitchell,” Brockaway said told CNN.
Brockaway added that, though Palmer has been charged, the District Attorney stated that he does not believe Palmer was aware of the planned escape.