Joyce Mitchell, left appears with her lawyer Stephen Johnston before Judge Buck Rogers in Plattsburgh City Court on June 15, 2015 in Plattsburgh, New York.
G.N. Miller—Getty Images
By Maya Rhodan
June 23, 2015

The husband of the New York prison worker accused of helping two convicted killers escape said Tuesday his wife got too far “in over [her] head” to fully carry out the escapees’ plot.

Lyle Mitchell told NBC’s TODAY that his wife, Joyce, was scared she would be harmed inside or outside of prison if she didn’t go through with the prisoners’ plan. The two prisoners, Richard Matt and David Sweat, were allegedly planning to kill Lyle Mitchell after they escaped, but Mitchell said his wife felt “scared” and couldn’t go through with it in the end.

“She said, ‘I love my husband, I am not hurting him,'” Mitchell told Matt Lauer. “She said, ‘That’s when I knew I was in over my head.'”

Joyce Mitchell has been charged with providing Matt and Sweat with tools to help in their escape. The two have been on the lam for more than two weeks.

Joyce Mitchell denied having a sexual relationship with either of the prisoners in conversations with her husband, who says he still loves her despite the ordeal.

“Do I love her? Yes. Am I mad? Yes,” he says, according to NBC. “How could she do this? How could she do this to our kids?”


Read next: Prison Worker Who Allegedly Helped NY Escapees Under ‘Enormous Pressure,’ Lawyer Says

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