In this handout photo provided by the New York State Police, Clinton Correctional Facility Correction Officer Gene Palmer, 57, of Dannemora, NY poses for a mugshot photo, June 24, 2015.
New York State Police/Getty Images
June 25, 2015 1:48 PM EDT

A guard at the New York prison where two killers escaped told police that he granted the men special access outside their cells and gave them supplies — but he said he never thought they would escape.

The guard, Gene Palmer, told police in a statement that he helped the inmates, Richard Matt and David Sweat, because Matt gave him “elaborate paintings” and information on illegal acts by other inmates.

The statement was obtained Thursday by NBC News. Palmer was arrested Wednesday and charged with promoting prison contraband, evidence tampering and official misconduct.

In the statement, Palmer told the New…

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