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National

Former New York Prison Worker Pleads Guilty To Aiding Inmates' Escape

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

The woman who helped two convicted murderers escape from an upstate New York prison changed her plea to guilty today. David Sweat and Richard Matt were on the run for weeks before Matt was killed and Sweat was captured. North Country Public Radio's Zach Hirsch reports on the plea change.

ZACH HIRSCH, BYLINE: The two charges are a felony and a misdemeanor related to sneaking in contraband. They carry a maximum sentence of seven years behind bars according to the judge. Stephen Johnston is Joyce Mitchell's defense attorney. He said there's overwhelming evidence that she's guilty.

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STEPHEN JOHNSTON: She got in over her head into something that she never should've started. But she did, and she's paying the price now. But she realizes that she made a horrible mistake.

HIRSCH: Johnston says it made sense to make a deal. The local district attorney chose not to charge her on other counts, including conspiring to kill her husband and having a sexual relationship with one or both of the inmates. Asked why Mitchell helped with the escape, Johnston said Richard Matt made her feel good about herself, and she was, quote, "swept off her feet." For NPR News, I'm Zach Hirsch in Plattsburg, N.Y. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.