Update as of 6:30 a.m. EDT: Clinton Correctional Facility guard Gene Palmer, who has been charged in connection with the escape of two convicted murderers from the New York prison, is out after posting a $25,000 bail, the Associated Press reported.
Palmer is accused of accepting paintings from the two inmates in exchange for providing them with tools on four occasions, according to a document detailing the charges against the 57-year-old guard. He reportedly tried to destroy evidence of the paintings by burning some of them in a fire pit at his home, according to reports.
Update as of 11:45 p.m. EDT: Clinton Correctional Facility prison guard Gene Palmer’s lawyer reportedly said that his client did not know that the two inmates were trying to break out of the prison and was also not aware that the meat he gave them had contraband inside it that later helped the two prisoners escape.
Palmer has admitted to passing the meat, defense lawyer Andrew Brockway said, according to the Associated Press, adding that he continues to cooperate with the investigation to help capture the fugitives, who have been on the run for over two weeks. Brockway also reportedly said that Palmer will plead not guilty at his arraignment Thursday to three felonies and one misdemeanor charge.
Updated as of 9:20 p.m. EDT: Clinton Correctional Facility prison guard Gene Palmer was scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday night after being charged with three felonies and one misdemeanor for his alleged role that helped to facilitate a prison break. Palmer, 57, was charged with promoting prison contraband in the 1st Degree, a Class D Felony, two counts of tampering with physical evidence, both class E felonies and one count of official misconduct, a Class A misdemeanor, according to a press release from New York State Police.
Palmer provided the prison escapees, Richard Matt and David Sweat, with hacksaw blades that officials say were used to help them break out of the facility, officials said. Matt and Sweat have managed to elude a massive manhunt for more than two weeks as law enforcement continued to search for the convicted killers.
Original story: The New York prison guard who said he unwittingly helped smuggle contraband that would later contribute to the daring escape of two prisoners was arrested Wednesday for his role in the breakout, according to a new report. The lawyer for the correction officer, Gene Palmer, confirmed the arrest to CNN. Palmer was charged with promoting dangerous prison contraband, destroying evidence and official misconduct.
Palmer also allowed the two escapees to cook food with hot plates in an area that was not in their cells, Clinton County District Attorney Andrew Wylie said, according to CNN. The destroyed evidence allegedly referred to paintings created by escaped inmate Richard Matt, who was apparently quite the artist and completed high quality portraits of celebrities while he was incarcerated.
Palmer transported hacksaw blades that were concealed in frozen ground beef into Clinton Correctional Facility before allegedly giving the tools to Matt, but Palmer's lawyer said the guard was tricked into doing so. The correction officer was placed on paid administrative leave Monday while the investigation continued into the prison break that has allowed Matt and fellow convicted murderer David Sweat to elude capture for more than two weeks.
— Anderson Cooper 360° (@AC360) June 24, 2015