Dannemora Escape

Major Charles Guess (retired)
NYS Police

On June 6, 2015 two convicted murderers escaped from the maximum security prison at Dannemora.  The search for David Sweat and Richard Matt fell under the jurisdiction of New York State Police Troop B, commanded by Major Charles Guess.  Now retired, he has written a book about the 23-day manhunt.  In this second part of an interview, he recounts his first walkthrough of the prison with Governor Andrew Cuomo on the first day of the search.

Relentless Pursuit book cover
Major Charles Guess (retired)

It captured the nation’s attention for nearly a month and kept everyone in Northern New York and Vermont on tenterhooks during the summer of 2015.  On June 6th, two convicted killers escaped from the maximum security prison at Dannemora.  Fugitives Richard Matt and David Sweat eluded searchers for weeks as reporters from around the world fixed a spotlight on the Shawshank-esque getaway.

What was it like to be the person in charge of the largest search ever conducted in the state?  New York State Police Major Charles Guess was the commander of Troop B Headquarters, and it fell upon him to lead the massive undertaking.  Now retired, he has written Relentless Pursuit, a book about those 23 days.  In the first of a two-part interview, Guess says he was encouraged to write the book by his wife Elinor as an insider’s comprehensive record of events.

Joyce Mitchell in courtroom with her lawyer during sentencing
Rob Fountain/Press Republican - pool photographer

The New York State Parole Board has unanimously denied former prison guard worker Joyce Mitchell’s bid for parole.

One year after two convicted murderers escaped from the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, the New York State Office of the Inspector General released a scathing report on how the prisoners made their escape from the maximum security facility. 

Monday marks one year since New York’s North Country was upended by a massive manhunt for two escaped murderers.  We look back at the 23-day search for Clinton Correctional Facility inmates Richard Matt and David Sweat.

Gene Palmer leaves court after pleading guilty on Monday.
Pat Bradley/WAMC

The last of the court proceedings in Clinton County dealing with the escape of David Sweat and Richard Matt from the maximum security Clinton Correctional facility last June was settled this morning. In the end, one inmate is dead, one is back behind bars, and two former prison employees have been sentenced to jail time.

David Sweat in Clinton County Court
Pat Bradley/WAMC

Convicted murderer David Sweat, who escaped from Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, New York in June, setting off a 23-day manhunt, was back in court Wednesday. Sweat, who is already serving a life sentence for murder, appeared in Clinton Country Court to face sentencing for the breakout. 

Photo of Clinton Correctional
Pat Bradley/WAMC

The New York Inspector General spent much of Monday meeting with the only corrections officer charged in the aftermath of the escape from the Clinton Correctional facility in June.

David Sweat during November 2015 Clinton County court appearance
Pat Bradley/WAMC

The convicted murderer who escaped from Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, New York in June, setting off a 23-day manhunt, was back in court today. David Sweat, who is already serving a life sentence for murder, returned for his second appearance in Clinton Country Court to plead guilty to charges related to the breakout. WAMC’s North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley was in court.

Gene Palmer at November court appearance
Rob Fountain/Press Republican - pool photographer

The prison guard facing five charges for his involvement with two prisoners who escaped from the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora this summer was in court Wednesday to enter his plea.

Pat Bradley/WAMC

The surviving escapee from the Clinton Correctional Facility who was captured after a 23-day manhunt in June was in Clinton County Court this morning facing charges related to the prison break. As WAMC’s Pat Bradley reports, the brief proceeding marked the first time David Sweat was seen in public since being wounded at the end of the chase.