Two killers on the run from an upstate prison for three weeks disagreed over whether to hole up in hunting cabin — one worried about being captured while the other suggested they could kill or take hostage anyone who checked on the remote camp, state police said.
So David Sweat and Richard Matt split up, Maj. Charles Guess said. But they spent some nights at the cabin two weeks after their June 6 escape.
Sweat told investigators he wanted to leave the cabin 30 miles west of the prison before someone discovered them. But Matt wanted to stay because the cabin had alcohol, heat and water. Matt argued that if someone did come, they could take him hostage or just kill him, Guess said.
“But Sweat said he wanted no part of that,” Guess said.
The two also found a shotgun hidden between two mattresses, though they had no bullets. A hunter who leased the cabin was alerted to potential danger by his dog on June 20. He noticed movement, drew his handgun and saw a figure scurry into the woods.
Police recovered bloody socks and prison clothes and quickly developed DNA evidence showing both were at the cabin. Hundreds of searchers focused on the heavily wooded area.
Matt was shot dead six days later in nearby woods. Sweat was captured two days afterward near the Canadian border and sent back to prison.
Sweat’s frustration with Matt grew in the days after they fled from the cabin into the woods, Guess said.
“He considered Matt to be a liability,” Guess said. “He wasn’t physically fit, and he was drunk as often as supplies would allow.”
The pair split up after Matt stumbled and fell, making noise Sweat worried may alert searchers in the area.
Sweat ran east. Matt headed west.