Joyce Mitchell 'Adamantly Denies' David Sweat's Claims that She Wanted Husband Killed, Lawyer Says
It’s a case of he said, she said.
Since his dramatic capture on Sunday, David Sweat has been coughing up details of how he and fellow inmate Richard Matt escaped from the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, New York, more than three weeks ago.
Last month, Mitchell, 51, had told authorities that the convicted murderers had planned to kill her husband, Lyle Mitchell, after they made their way out of the maximum-security prison on June 6.
She had planned to be their getaway driver, but failed to show up, saying she loved her husband too much, say authorities.
Mitchell is standing by her story, says her attorney, Stephen Johnston.
“Joyce adamantly denies inmate Sweat s allegation that Joyce wanted them to kill her husband,” he tells PEOPLE.
A source with knowledge of the investigation tells PEOPLE that Sweat, 35, is cooperating with authorities because he is just looking out for himself.
“Sweat is talking, but everyone is mindful of one thing: Sweat is working for Sweat,” the source says. “Anything he says is self-serving.”
The source adds: “He does not want to go back to Clinton. He burned a lot of bridges on all sides. He will not be welcome by the inmates. He is doing his damnedest to make sure he gets sent somewhere else.”
Mitchell remains in a jail cell in Renssalaer, New York, awaiting her next court appearance after her June 12 arrest for allegedly helping Sweat and Matt, 49, in their Hollywood-style escape. She was charged with promoting prison contraband in the first degree, which is a felony, and criminal facilitation in the fourth degree, which is a misdemeanor. She pleaded not guilty.
Mitchell was relieved when Sweat was captured a few miles from the Canadian border on Sunday, after a massive manhunt that consumed the nation, says Johnston. Matt was shot dead by police on June 26.
“When we talked about this earlier in the week Joyce was ecstatic both that the manhunt had ended and also that it appears that no harm came to any other person,” says Johnston.
“She had been praying for this and she believes her prayers have been answered,” he says. “We have not talked about this over the past day or so.”
As for Mitchell, she “appears to be all right,” says Johnston, “but is understandably anxious about the legal process which awaits her.”
• With reporting by SUSAN KEATING
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