The Prison Guard and Unwitting Accomplice in the Dannemora Escape Is Going to Prison

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Clinton Correctional Facility Correction Officer Gene Palmer Sentenced
Gene Palmer. Photo: Handout/2015 New York State Police

Gene Palmer, a guard at Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, New York, was sentenced to six months in jail and fined about $5,000 on Monday for unwittingly helping Richard Matt and David Sweat escape from the prison last June. Palmer brought in pliers and a screwdriver for the two prisoners, as well as hamburger meat which, unbeknownst to him, concealed a hacksaw blade.

Palmer gave the tools to the prisoners as a favor, so they could fix the wiring to more easily cook inside their cells. In typical give-a-mouse-a-cookie fashion, once they could cook, they needed hamburger meat, and so on.

Palmer plead guilty to a felony for providing tools to the prisoners, a misdemeanor for official misconduct, and another misdemeanor for all the hamburger meat. He is the third accomplice to be sentenced in the escape. The prison seamstress, Joyce Mitchell — who hid the hacksaw in the ground beef — was sentenced to up to seven years in prison in September.

The escape transfixed the nation last year and led to a three-week manhunt. Eventually, David Sweat was apprehended and Richard Matt was shot and killed by police.

Guard Sentenced for Dannemora Prison Break