Lyle Mitchell was in the dark of his wife's role in helping two prisoners escape from a New York facility until an investigator revealed it to him, he told NBC News in an interview Monday.
Joyce Mitchell, who has since been charged with smuggling the tools inmates David Sweat and Richard Matt used to escape from Clinton Correctional Facility on June 6, admitted to her husband that she had helped the men break out. She also denied having a sexual relationship with either of the men.
"I asked her what was going on,” Lyle Mitchell told TODAY’s Matt Lauer. “She said, 'I just – I did some things … and I got over my head.' I didn't know what to say. I was just … disbelief, shock."
Joyce also revealed to Lyle that she had intended to knock him out with pills Mr. Matt, one of the fugitives, had given her. Her plan was to run away with the pair. But the thought of hurting her husband compelled her to back out.
"She said: 'I love my husband, I am not hurtin' him'," Lyle said. "She said, ‘Then I knew I was over my head.’"
Lyle said he is cooperating fully with the investigation, but had not yet decided whether or not to testify against his wife.
"Do I still love her? Yes,” he said. “Am I mad? Yes. How could she do this? How could she do this to our kids?"
Mr. Sweat and Matt escaped from the Dannemora, N.Y. prison 17 days ago. An intense manhunt for the two men has been underwayThe police are following a lead that last puts the fugitives in a hunting cabin in the Adirondacks on Saturday, where a hunter reported seeing someone flee. Items from the cabin have been sent to labs for DNA testing.