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Man whose wife allegedly helped murderers escape 'can't stand by her': lawyer

by Scott Stump /  / Updated  / Source: TODAY

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While Lyle Mitchell still has an emotional connection to his wife, he will not be taking her side after she was arrested for allegedly assisting a pair of convicted murderers escape from prison earlier this month.

"Lyle still cares about his wife, but he realizes he can't stand by her, that she's kind of made her own bed in this situation and he's got to distance himself from that,'' Mitchell's attorney, Peter Dumas, told Matt Lauer in an exclusive interview on TODAY Thursday.

Joyce Mitchell, 51, was a seamstress at Clinton Correction Facility in upstate New York, where she allegedly was sexually involved with one or both convicted murderers, Richard Matt and David Sweat, who escaped on June 6 and are still at large. She has been charged with aiding in their escape by giving them hacksaw blades, chisels, a punch and a screwdriver that she allegedly brought into the prison weeks earlier. She initially agreed to be their getaway driver but backed out at the last minute, police said.

Lyle Mitchell, who also works at the prison and is currently on administrative leave with pay, visited his wife behind bars on Tuesday. There is no indication police are looking at Lyle as a suspect, according to Dumas.

"This is a woman that he cares deeply about, and he still cares deeply about her,'' Dumas said. "He needed some answers. He was just blown away by what was coming out. The fact that she told him that these two inmates had a plot to kill him. She did (confirm the plot), but she also had told him that she was not in agreement with it, (and) that she was getting threatened by the inmates at that point."

More from Dumas:

  • On Lyle having his life turned upside down: "He's in shock, still,'' Dumas said. "This is a woman he thought was his best friend for 21 years, and now he finds out she was possibly part of a plot to kill him."
  • On a prior investigation that his wife had an inappropriate relationship with one of the inmates: "(Lyle) was aware of it. He did talk to his wife about it at the time, and I believe he even talked to the inmate at that time. The inmate came up to him and assured him that there was no inappropriate relationship, (and) his wife assured him there was no inappropriate relationship, that they just worked together."

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