DANNEMORA, N.Y. – As police search for two escaped killers in New York, a corrections officer at the prison has been placed on administrative leave.
Investigators questioned that officer for 14 hours Saturday, according to his lawyer.
It seems the investigation is now focused on these paintings that one of the inmates, Richard Matt, was making behind bars.
It’s already known that prison seamstress, Joyce Mitchell, received one of those paintings.
She’s now been charged with helping those two inmates by providing them the tools they used to break out of the prison more than two weeks ago.
And we’ve now learned that 57-year-old prison guard, Gene Palmer, who has been working at the prison more than 25 years, also received one of those paintings
And that is the reason that investigators are interviewing him and the reason that he’s been placed on paid leave.
His attorney tells CNN that he’s cooperating.
He was a guard on the honor block where both Richard Matt and David Sweat were housed. He also knew Joyce Mitchell.
Prison officials say he had daily contact with the three of them.
His attorney says he tried, as most guards do, to maintain a good working relationship with the inmates for safety reasons. But, he told CNN he 100 percent denies any knowledge of the escape plan.
“I can 100 percent confirm that he did not know that they were planning to break out of the prison,” said his attorney, Andrew Brockway. “These two people are psychopaths. They are master manipulators. They are obviously in prison for life, so they have nothing but time to develop schemes to take advantage of innocent people.”
Now in addition, his attorney said Gene Palmer was actually on vacation the night the two inmates escaped.
However, Palmer does live in a home just a few blocks away from here.
He told his attorney he was scared that night, and that people inside the prison were shocked that something like this could happen.