Dannemora: Two Escaped Killers, Three Weeks of Terror, and the Largest Manhunt Ever in New York State

Dannemora: Two Escaped Killers, Three Weeks of Terror, and the Largest Manhunt Ever in New York State

by Charles A. Gardner


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In June 2015, two convicted murderers broke out of the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, in New York’s North Country—launching the most extensive manhunt in state history and dominating the news cycle with the sex scandal linking both inmates to the prison employee who aided them.
Double murderer Richard Matt and cop-killer David Sweat slipped out of their cells, followed a network of tunnels and pipes under the thirty-foot prison wall, and climbed out of a manhole to freedom. For three weeks, residents of local communities were prisoners in their own homes as law enforcement swept the wilderness near the Canadian border.
Dannemora is a gripping account of the bold breakout and the search that ended with one man dead, one man back in custody—and lingering questions about those who set the deadly drama in motion.
“A dramatic story. . . . A true community insider’s perspective on a legendary manhunt.”
“A gripping account of the daring prison break. . . . True crime fans will be more than satisfied.”
—Publishers Weekly 
“More than just a page-turner—a true story about people who are dedicated to seeking justice.”
—Robert K. Tanenbaum
“An exciting read, full of shocking revelations. . . . Don’t miss this stunning true story.”
—Gregg Olsen
“Eye-opening, provocative . . . a true story, full of shocking twists and turns.”
—M. William Phelps

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780806539249
Publisher: Kensington
Publication date: 02/26/2019
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 780,899
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Charles A. Gardner is a municipal court judge and retired correction training lieutenant in Malone, New York, the far-upstate town where he was born and raised. His twenty-five-year career in New York State Department of Corrections included working as a correction officer, sergeant, and lieutenant. He had experience working in medium- and maximum-security facilities including stints at Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora and the maximum-security prisons of Sing Sing, Bedford Hills, Great Meadow, and Upstate. Gardner served on the Department of Corrections' emergency response team (CERT), which played a critical role in the search for the 2015 prison escapees. He lives with his wife in the North Country. Visit him at www.charlesagardner.com.

Table of Contents

Prologue: Inside Honor Block 1

I The Setting 5

1 Day One 7

2 Iron Mines and Iron Bars 12

3 Little Siberia 16

4 Amenities and Accommodations 21

5 Right-Sizing 24

II The Inmates 29

6 Two Hard Cases 31

7 Broken Boy, Broken Toys 36

8 Sweat's Road to Clinton 41

9 Deputy Tarsia's Last Tour 47

10 Boy Bully to Teenage Thug 56

11 Catch and Release 61

12 Murder for Hire 66

13 Gladiator School 72

14 Rickerson's Murder 78

15 Matt Takes a Ride 84

III The Plans, The Schemes 93

16 The Complacent Guard 95

17 Lonely, Undisciplined, Corruptible 100

18 Corcraft's Tailor Shops 103

19 Tailor Shop Troubles 107

20 Romancing and Contraband 112

21 Laying the Foundation 117

IV The Breakout 123

22 Breaching Their Cells 125

23 A Subterranean Struggles 129

24 Mitchell Goes Deep 132

25 Subterranean Struggles 138

26 "Time to Go, Kid!" 145

27 Change in Plans 150

V The Search 155

28 Discovery 157

29 Lockdown, Overtime, and a Media Blitz 162

30 Shelter in Place 167

31 Clinton Strong 174

32 The Pursuit and the Pursued 179

33 The Power of Politics 185

VI The Chase 191

34 Twisted Horn 193

35 Timing Is Everything 198

36 Bounty Hunters and Media Follies 204

37 Escape Route 208

38 The Chase Is On 214

39 The Bromance Ends 219

VII The Reckoning 225

40 Gin and Potshots at Humbug Mountain 227

41 Closing the Box 233

42 Mart's Final Stand 237

43 Press Conference, the Law, and the Locals 241

44 Sweat Runs for the Border 246

45 Sweat Goes Down 251

VIII The Aftermath 257

46 Assigning the Blame 259

47 Final Accounting 266

Acknowledgments 271

Index 273

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