Joyce Mitchell: ‘I’m Not the Monster Everybody Thinks I Am’

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The second part of Matt Lauer’s interview with Joyce Mitchell, the prison seamstress who helped two murderers escape a prison in upstate New York earlier this year, aired Friday morning. It ended with Mitchell, wearing black and white stripes, in tears, saying she was sorry for everything she did. “I never meant for any of this to happen. I would take it all back if I could, but I can’t,” she said, her voice breaking. “But I’m not the monster everybody thinks I am. I’m really not. I’m just somebody that got caught up in something she couldn’t get out of.” 

She is scheduled to be sentenced on September 28 and faces up to seven years in prison. David Sweat, the prisoner left alive after a protracted manhunt in June, is in solitary confinement at Five Points Correctional Facility in Seneca County. The prison worker brought the escapees tools hidden in frozen hamburger meat that they used to break out of their cells. The prisoners told guards that the meat was for goulash. When guards asked about the tools, Richard Matt, who was fatally shot in the woods during the search and allegedly had a sexual relationship with Mitchell, explained that they were for building frames for his infamous celebrity paintings

Mitchell told Lauer “[she] had no intentions of ever showing up” the night of the escape, when she was supposed to pick up the convicts in her car. She was afraid Sweat and Richard Matt would kill her husband, and realizes now that they probably would have killed her too. She added that she “was not completely honest with the state police” immediately after the escape. “But the next day, my husband and I both went back. I had my husband go out with me. And I started to tell the state police everything.”

When Lauer and Mitchell began to talk about her husband, Lyle, Lauer noted that, “for some reason, he’s decided to stand by you.” 

Because he’s a very amazing man,” she said, “and he’s a blessing from God for me. He’s a terrific husband … I’m not leaving his side.”

The entire interview — and an additional segment with Lyle — will air tonight at 9 p.m. on NBC’s Dateline.

This post has been updated throughout.