Another employee at the upstate New York prison where two inmates escaped earlier this month has been arrested, officials said Wednesday.Gene Palmer, a guard at the Clinton County Correctional Facility in Dannemora, was held on $50,000 bond or $25,000 cash bail on charges of promoting prison contraband in the first degree (a class D felony), two counts of tampering with physical evidence (a class E felony) and one count of official misconduct (a class A misdemeanor). The charges carry prison terms ranging from 15 months to seven years.
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Palmer, 57 — who worked in the cell block that Richard Matt and David Sweat escaped from on June 6 — was arraigned Wednesday night in Plattsburgh Town Court. A second hearing was scheduled for Thursday afternoon. Palmer’s attorney, Andrew Brockway, told NBC News that his client would plead not guilty.
Clinton prison seamstress Joyce Mitchell has already been arrested and has told investigators that she smuggled escape tools to the prisoners inside raw ground beef, officials revealed Tuesday.
Brockway said Palmer admitted passing the meat but had no idea it was concealing contraband. He has been “completely cooperative with the investigation” and “wants these individuals caught,” Brockway said.
“He made a mistake, and he’s sorry about that,” Brockway said. “He is devastated, he is sorry, and he wants the focus to return to capturing the prisoners.”
Palmer, who has worked at the prison for 27 years, was suspended with payFriday. He told investigators he didn’t know the meat contained contraband.
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