David Sweat's secrets: 5 things escaped prisoner told law enforcement

Story highlights

  • David Sweat was on the run for weeks before being shot and captured
  • He and fellow inmate Richard Matt escaped from maximum security prison
  • "The Great Prison Escape," a special report from Randi Kaye, airs at 9 p.m. ET Tuesday
Watch "The Great Prison Escape," a special report from Randi Kaye, at 9 p.m. ET Tuesday.

(CNN)David Sweat escaped the maximum security Clinton Correctional Facility on June 6, along with fellow prisoner Richard Matt.

The two had been on the run for nearly three weeks when Matt was shot dead by authorities.
The search for Sweat continued for another two days, when a New York State Police trooper with a keen eye noticed a man resembling Sweat walking close to the Canadian border.
    When the trooper, a trained firearms instructor, yelled for the man to stop, he turned and ran. The trooper realized the man was Sweat, dropped to one knee and fired his handgun, striking Sweat twice in the torso. Once in custody, Sweat began sharing with authorities key information about the great prison escape and the manhunt that followed.
    Here are five things Sweat shared with law enforcement:

    1. The inmates split up

    David Sweat told investigators he separated from fellow escapee Richard Matt five days before Sweat was captured. He said Matt was slowing him down because Matt was out of shape and hitting the bottle too hard after the two had broken into a cabin. Matt was found lying by a tree close to a cabin the two men had been using in Franklin County, New York.
    When Matt pointed a rifle at police, they fired, killing him. Sweat was found north of there, just a couple miles south of the Canadian border in the town of Constable, New York. Sharpshooter Sgt. Jay Cook took him down. Authorities had gotten close to Sweat twice but didn't know it. Sweat told investigators he was hiding in a hunting stand when one member of a search team walked right by him without noticing.
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    2. An impromptu turn toward Canada

    Sweat told authorities that he and Matt had planned to go to Mexico after escaping. But they were forced to improvise when prison seamstress Joyce Mitchell, who sources tell CNN had a sexual relationship with Matt, failed to pick them up in the getaway car. Only then did they turn north to Canada, he said.
    Mitchell was supposed to pick the escapees up at a power plant just a few hundred yards away from the manhole from which they had emerged. The power plant's tall smokestacks are visible from the tailor shop where the men worked with Mitchell. The district attorneys says they likely used the smokestacks as a marker for their meeting place

    3. The escape was a long time coming

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    Sweat told investigators the escape plan was hatched long ago. Beginning last winter, he divulged he'd cut a hole in his cell first, then Matt's cell. Sweat would leave his cell every night in search of an escape route -- wandering through the tunnels beneath the prison. Sweat told investigators he would wait until guards were done with their final rounds and then sneak out after the lights were turned off. Sweat says he did this many, many times and Matt only did it only a few times.
    The New York Times reports that at one point, Sweat was cutting through a wall when steam started blowing unbearable heat on him, so Sweat says he rigged a fan to help cool him using electricity from the tunnel's lights. Also, Sweat shared that an inmate once told Matt he heard noise as the two were cutting through the wall with a hacksaw. The Times says Matt explained it away saying he was stretching canvas for one of his paintings, which Matt made in prison.
    Sweat additionally said that he and Matt made a practice run the night before the actual escape. However, when they emerged from a manhole, Sweat told authorities there were too many houses, so they went back to the prison and pulled it off the next night from a different manhole.

    4. No power tools needed

    Sweat told investigators that the escapees had not used any power tools to break out of the prison. He said they used only hacksaw blades, wrapped in cloth to make them easier to hold and use. Those blades were used, he said, to cut through the steam pipe and cell wall. He also shared that they did find a sledge hammer underground, too, which they used to knock down a brick wall on the way out of the prison.

    5. A plot to kill?

    Sweat shared that there was indeed a plan to kill Joyce Mitchell's husband, Lyle, who also worked in the prison tailor shop and knew both escapees. Once in custody, Sweat dropped a bombshell, saying it was actually Joyce Mitchell's idea to kill her husband before the threesome headed to Mexico.
    Her attorney denies that his client had anything to do with a plan to kill her husband. Instead, he says Mitchell abandoned her plan to pick the men up after they escaped while dining over Chinese food with her husband. That is when she decided she didn't want anything to happen to him and chose not to be the getaway driver.
    Sweat is now incarcerated in maximum security Five Points Correctional Facility in Romulus, New York. He is confined to his cell 23 hours a day.
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