Second Prison Worker Arrested in Connection with NY Prison Escape Posts Bail, Denies Knowing About Tools Hidden in Frozen Meat
Gene Palmer, who worked at the Clinton Correctional Facility in upstate New York, was arrested on Wednesday
The second prison worker arrested in connection with two convicted murderers’ escape has posted bail.
Gene Palmer, who worked at the Clinton Correctional Facility in upstate New York, was arrested on Wednesday for allegedly smuggling hacksaw blades to prisoners Richard Matt and David Sweat, who escaped on June 6.
The 57-year-old was charged with promoting prison contraband, tampering with physical evidence and official misconduct, according to charging documents obtained by PEOPLE.
The documents show that Palmer destroyed “a number of paintings he received from Richard Matt and David Sweat by burning them in a fire pit at his residence.” He also purchased painting supplies for Matt, the documents state.
Palmer was released at 12:30 a.m. on Thursday after using a credit card to post his $25,000 bail, the Associated Press reports.
He joins prison tailor Joyce Mitchell, who was previously arrested for aiding the two escapees. A law enforcement source told CNN Tuesday that she used baked goods to convince prison officials to do favors for her, including moving Matt and Sweat to prison cells next to each other.
She also reportedly convinced Palmer to pass the tools the two used to escape in a package of frozen hamburger meat, thus avoiding the prison’s metal detector.
Palmer denies knowing that the meat contained hacksaw blades, according to his lawyer. In the charging documents, he says he did “not intentionally” help the prisoners escape.
Mitchell has pleaded not guilty to aiding the killers in their escape.
Second Prison Worker Accused of Helping Two Convicted Killers Escape
On Wednesday, police said there is a strong possibility that the escaped convicts are armed.
“Just about every cabin or outbuilding in the North Country has one or more shotguns or weapons,” State Police Troop B Commander Maj. Charles Guess said at a press conference in Cadyville, New York, on Wednesday afternoon.
“They are extremely dangerous. They are cunning. Why wouldn’t they try to arm themselves immediately upon escape?
“We have, since day one, operated under the belief that these men are armed.”
Reports surfaced earlier this week saying that a shotgun was taken from a seasonal hunting cabin near rural Owls Head, New York, where authorities found DNA belonging to the men on Saturday – sure signs they were there.
At this point, Guess said, “I do not have confirmatory evidence that a particular shotgun is missing.”
While almost every cabin in the area has an “inordinate amount of weapons and ammunition and other tools” stored inside, owners don’t always keep track of what they have stockpiled, he said.
“A number of people cycle through these camps and cabins, and they do not have a definitive number of weapons, so they cannot tell us what’s missing and what’s not,” he said.
While Guess would not discuss the results of the DNA testing that was performed on items that were found in the cabin, he said police had “virtually 100 percent assurance” that the escapees were in the area Saturday.
On Wednesday, more than 1,000 officers searched more of Franklin County’s rural, rugged, mountainous terrain, say police.
But authorities don’t know for sure if they are still near the cabin where DNA from the convicts was found.
“They could easily move 10 miles per day on trails if unimpeded,” said Guess.
Police searched Titus Mountain in Franklin County on Monday night, after a resident reported a possible sighting of the two escapees.
Law enforcement spent several hours searching the area and did not find any signs of the suspects, said police.
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