Joyce Mitchell, the prison employee accused of helping two convicted murderers escape from a maximum-security prison in upstate New York earlier this month, "absolutely" did not have a sexual relationship with either of the two men, her husband Lyle Mitchell told the "Today" show's Matt Lauer in an exclusive interview Tuesday morning.
Mitchell said his wife may have been looking for love elsewhere, but she did not find it with escapee Richard Matt. The prisoner started giving Joyce lot of attention, but then “it went too far," he added. "He tried to kiss her a couple times, she said ‘nah’. He then started threatening her."
Joyce worked as an instructor in the Clinton Correctional Facility's tailoring shop, where she befriended Matt and his accomplice David Sweat. She is accused of providing them with tools and blades to aid their escape. She also planned to serve as their getaway driver but backed out at the last minute.
Lyle Mitchell told NBC News that although his wife was threatened, she wasn't forced to provide the inmates with tools.
“It was like a fantasy” for her, he said. “It was attention."
Mitchell said his wife told him, "I didn’t think you loved me anymore."
“She said, ‘I did not mean to do this.’ But things happened,” he added. His wife eventually realized things were getting out of hand, and decided against driving Matt and Sweat away from the prison, he said.
Mitchell “absolutely” believes he and his wife would both be dead if she had gone to pick up the two inmates and he had been in the car. “They were going to kill her. All they wanted was that vehicle.”
The two inmates allegedly plotted to kill Lyle Mitchell, and his wife was likely aware of the plot, Clinton County District Attorney Andrew Wylie announced last week.
Lyle Mitchell admitted to Lauer that the situation has filled him with conflicting emotions. “There are so many thoughts running through my head," he said. "Do I still love her? Yes. Am I mad? Yes. How can she do this? How can she do this to our kids?”
He said he believes his wife is telling the truth, but he hasn't decided whether he’ll stick with her or testify against her. “As of right now, I don’t know what to think.”
Lyle Mitchell's lawyer said he will not be charged in connection with the escape, reported the Plattsburgh Press-Republican.