A portrait has begun to emerge of the veteran corrections officer accused of helping two convicted murderers break out of a New York state prison, as court documents suggested that he had a complicated and mutually beneficial relationship with the two escapees, the Wall Street Journal reports. The guard, Gene Palmer, 57, allegedly passed inmates David Sweat and Richard Matt needle-nose pliers and a flathead screwdriver, both forbidden items behind the high walls of the Clinton Correctional Facility.
In return, authorities said, Palmer received paintings from Sweat and Matt, who have been at large since they made their escape on June 6. Palmer also received information about “illegal acts” inmates were committing inside the prison, court documents say. After the escape, authorities said, Palmer allegedly destroyed a number of those paintings in a fire pit at his home. Police said he tried to conceal some of the others by burying them in the nearby woods. Palmer has apologized and said he had no prior knowledge of the escape plan.