Second US prison worker charged over escape of two convicted killers

A guard stands in a tower at the Clinton Correctional Facility, New York, where prison officer Gene Palmer was arrested on Wednesday for the escape of two convicted murderers who have eluded a massive police manhunt for almost three weeks.
A guard stands in a tower at the Clinton Correctional Facility, New York, where prison officer Gene Palmer was arrested on Wednesday for the escape of two convicted murderers who have eluded a massive police manhunt for almost three weeks.PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK (AFP) - Police arrested and charged a prison officer on Wednesday over the escape of two convicted killers who remain on the loose after a weeks-long manhunt, officials said.

Gene Palmer, who worked at the Clinton Correctional Facility where the duo escaped from on June 6, was charged on four counts, Major Charles Guess of New York State Police said in a statement.

Palmer allegedly helped smuggle tools and other contraband in frozen hamburger meat, Clinton County District Attorney Andrew Wylie told ABC News.

The 57-year-old Palmer is charged with promoting prison contraband, two counts of tampering with physical evidence and one count of official misconduct.

Convicts Richard Matt, 49, and David Sweat, 35, cut their way out of their cells at the maximum-security Clinton prison in upstate New York, sparking a massive - and so far fruitless - manhunt for the men on the run.

Another prison employee, Joyce Mitchell, is charged with facilitating the escape, also accused of smuggling hacksaw blades and drill bits to the pair in raw hamburger meat.

More than 1,000 US agents have been tasked with finding the escaped inmates, who may be armed and are considered dangerous, officials say.