Despite an alleged plot to have him killed, Lyle Mitchell is standing by his embattled wife

By K.C. Baker
Updated July 10, 2015 07:35 PM
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Joyce Mitchell (top), Richard Matt (left), David Sweat (right)
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Love knows no bounds, especially when it comes to Lyle Mitchell and his wife, Joyce Mitchell.

Joyce, who was arrested last month for helping convicted murderers Richard Matt and David Sweat escape from a maximum-security prison in upstate New York, told her husband the inmates were plotting to kill him, say authorities.

Clinton County District Attorney Andrew Wylie also told ABC News that the 51-year-old prison worker had sex with escapee Richard Matt, 49, who was shot and killed on June 26 after a massive, three-week manhunt that gripped the nation.

Yet, Lyle is standing by his woman.

“Lyle never said exactly ‘I plan on staying with Joyce,’ but over a period of time with Lyle talking and visiting Joyce in jail, he doesn’t plan on a divorce,” Lyle’s attorney, Peter Dumas, told ABC News.

“Lyle calls Joyce everyday and he is visiting her today and plans to visit her this weekend,” Dumas told ABC News. “It’s pretty clear by his actions right now he plans to stay with her.”

After Joyce’s June 12 arrest, authorities revealed that the two convicts had planned to kill Lyle, leaving her husband “in shock.”

Lyle, 48, was “blown away” when Joyce told him about the alleged plot to murder him, Dumas told Lauer last month on Today.

“This is a woman he thought was his best friend for 21 years, and now he finds out she was possibly part of a plot to kill him,” Dumas said at the time.

He added that while Lyle still cares about his wife, “he realizes he can’t stand by her – that she kind of made her own bed in this situation and he’s got to distance himself from that.”

In his June 23 interview with the Today show, Lyle said Joyce told him she never had sexual relationship with either one of the men.

He also said she told him that Matt gave her pills that would knock him out while she helped drive the men to an undisclosed location after their escape.

Authorities say she failed to pick up the men after their escape, citing cold feet.

“She said: ‘I love my husband, I am not hurtin’ him,’ ” Lyle told Lauer. “She said, ‘Then I knew I was over my head.’ ”

Conflicting Accounts

After his dramatic June 28 capture, Sweat, 35, told authorities that Joyce wanted to have her husband killed – which she says is untrue.

“Joyce adamantly denies inmate Sweat’s allegation that Joyce wanted them to kill her husband,” her attorney, Stephen Johnston, told PEOPLE.

“She told the police that inmate Matt gave her pills, which he said were to incapacitate her husband and she destroyed them,” says Johnston.

Still Behind Bars

On Tuesday, Mitchell was moved from the Rensselaer County Jail to the Clinton County Jail in Plattsburgh, where she awaits her next court appearance.

She was charged with a felony count of promoting prison contraband and a misdemeanor count of criminal facilitation for allegedly helping Sweat and Matt escape. She has pleaded not guilty.

For now, Lyle will continue to visit her in jail – since he can’t bail her out.

“He doesn’t have plans to get Joyce out of jail,” Dumas told ABC News. “He doesn’t have the money.”

The court has set Mitchell’s bail at $100,000 cash or $200,000 bond for the felony and $10,000 cash or $20,000 bond for the misdemeanor.

After his capture, Sweat was treated for his injuries at Albany Medical Center. He was later transferred to the maximum security Five Points Correctional Facility in Romulus, New York, the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision said in a statement.

As for Mitchell, she “appears to be all right,” Johnston told PEOPLE, “but is understandably anxious about the legal process which awaits her.”

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