Vicious killers in daring jail escape
Two convicted murderers used power tools to cut through steel and shimmied through a steam pipe to escape from a maximum-security prison near the Canadian border, leaving behind a taunting note urging authorities to “Have a nice day”.
The elaborate escape from an upstate New York prison had hundreds of local, state and federal law enforcement officers searching through the night for David Sweat, imprisoned for killing a sheriff’s deputy, and Richard Matt, who dismembered his boss.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said Matt and Sweat staged “a really elaborate, sophisticated operation” that ended at a manhole cover blocks away from the prison – and must have been overheard by someone.
“They were heard, they had to be heard,” Mr Cuomo said.
The men had filled their beds inside the Clinton Correctional Facility with clothes to appear as though they were sleeping. On one pipe cut in the escape, investigators found a note with a racist design — a yellow square of paper with a smiling, bucktoothed face, along with the words, “Have a nice day”.
Sweat (34), is serving a sentence of life without parole after he was convicted of first-degree murder for killing a sheriff’s deputy in Broome County, New York, on July 4, 2002. Matt (48) is serving a sentence of 25 years to life for the kidnapping, dismemberment and killing of his former boss in 1997.
Steven Tarsia, brother of Deputy Kevin Tarsia, said finding out his brother’s killer had escaped “turns your world upside-down all over again”.
Mr Tarsia said he couldn’t imagine how the men could have gotten power tools and escaped without help, but “I don’t know why anybody would help them”.
Roadblocks were set up in the area, which is about 32km from the Canadian border, and bloodhounds and helicopters were being used to track down the men, officials said.
Mr Cuomo described the two as extremely dangerous.