Update as of 11:45 p.m. ET: Joyce Mitchell, the prison employee charged with offenses related to the escape of two convicted murderers from a New York jail last week, plead not guilty to the charges against her at a court hearing Friday.
A Plattsburgh City Court judge set bail in the amount of $100,000 cash, or a $200,000 bond on the felony charges she faces, and $10,000 cash or $20,000 bond on the misdemeanor charges.
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Joyce Mitchell, a prison employee who allegedly smuggled the materials that helped two convicted murderers escape from maximum security prison, could potentially face additional charges aside from promoting prison contraband and criminal facilitation, state police said Friday during a press conference. Mitchell, 51, was arrested Friday and faces up to seven years in prison for helping Richard Matt and David Sweat break out of Clinton Correctional Facility last weekend in upstate New York.
“Joyce Mitchell represents just one fraction of the investigation,” a member of the New York State police, whose name was not immediately available, said Friday evening. “We’re following every lead to its completion,” he added, refusing to go into detail about what materials Mitchell may have provided.
â€” ABC News (@ABC) June 12, 2015
Matt, 48, and Sweat, 34, used power tools to cut through steel walls and pipes, and tunnel underground until they reached a manhole early Saturday morning. They remained at large as hundreds of law enforcement officers, along with dogs and helicopters joined in a massive manhunt that officials say is focused on the area surrounding the prison.
— ABC News (@ABC) June 9, 2015
Although Mitchell, who worked in the prison’s tailoring shop, did bring banned materials into the prison, she was not the person who provided the power tools, according to Andrew Wylie, Clinton County district attorney. The state police have described the smuggled goods merely as “material assistance” that helped the prisoners escape and refused to disclose further details. But unnamed sources told CNN that hacksaw blades, drill bits and glasses with lights were among the resources Mitchell provided.
Mitchell was reportedly somewhat smitten with Matt and was friendly with both of the inmates. She had allegedly planned to drive their getaway car after they broke out of the prison but had a panic attack and changed her mind at the last minute. She subsequently cooperated with law enforcement officials, providing them with information “that’s assisted the investigators,” Wylie said, as well as details shedding light on her relationships with the escapees.
Mitchell’s husband, who worked at the prison in a similar capacity to his wife, has not been charged with any crime, authorities said Friday.