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Gov. Cuomo on escaped murderers: 'They definitely had help'

Two convicted killers who escaped from a maximum-security prison in upstate New York "definitely had help" from the inside, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on TODAY Monday.
/ Source: TODAY

Two convicted killers who escaped from a maximum security prison in upstate New York “definitely had help” from the inside, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on TODAY Monday.

The two prisoners, serving life sentences for murder, used power tools to cut through steel walls and pipes outside their adjacent prison cells, beginning an elaborate escape that amazed even authorities, Cuomo told Savannah Guthrie.

“We’re looking at everything, primarily from the inside,” he said. Authorities are examining three types of employees: guards, civilians and contractors who worked inside the prison.

“We’re going through the civilian employees and private contractors first," Cuomo said. "I’d be shocked if a correction guard was involved in this, but they definitely had help, otherwise, they couldn’t have done this on their own, even from the equipment point of view.”

Guards noticed the prisoners — Richard Matt, 48, and 34-year-old David Sweat — missing during an early morning bed check Saturday. By then, authorities believe the two inmates had cut through the steel walls of their adjacent cells. They then scaled a series of 6-foot catwalks, shimmied through a steam pipe and ultimately emerged from a manhole outside of the prison's 30-foot walls.

“All of this took a number of days to accomplish what they accomplished. I mean, this really could have been a movie script,” Cuomo said. “And if you saw this movie script, it would have been unbelievable what they accomplished.”

The prisoners also left a Post-it Note next to the hole they cut out that said, "Have a nice day."

Cuomo said the message showed "a little bit of the comedian in them but I plan on giving them back that note."