How It Really Happened with Hill Harper is bringing its audience an exclusive look into the infamous escape of two inmates from a Dannemora prison this Sunday, March 21 at 9 pm ET (6 pm PT) on HLN.
After premiering the sixth season of its Original Series last Sunday, HLN’s How It Really Happened is delving into the story of dangerous criminals Richard Matt and David Sweat and their shocking escape from Clinton Correctional Facility on June 5, 2015. The two men evaded the police for over two weeks, despite the fact that the FBI, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, New York State Forest Rangers, U.S. Marshals Service, and state and local police were involved in a massive manhunt that spread across multiple states.
On day 21 of the search, Matt separated from Sweat and made his way into Franklin County, New York alone. He ultimately drew attention to himself by shooting at the driver of a passing vehicle with a 20-gauge shotgun and was killed by U.S. Border Patrol Supervisory Agent Chris Voss as a result. Sweat was spotted two days later by New York State Trooper Sergeant Jay Cook. Although Sweat was just 1.5 miles from Canada-U.S. border, he was brought back into custody before he could step into freedom.
Matt was sentenced to 25 years to life for kidnapping, torturing, killing and dismembering his former boss in December of 1997, as well as stabbing a man to death in a bar in Mexico two months later. Sweat was serving a life sentence without parole for killing Broome County Sheriff’s Deputy Kevin Tarsia in 2002. Despite their violent histories, the men managed to gain access to a privileged housing unit that allowed them access to cooking stations, televisions, telephones, and more. How It Really Happened discusses the peculiar way in which Matt and Sweat got to know each other inside the prison, including the ample unsupervised time they had together on their “Honor Block.”
Matt and Sweat were aided by Joyce Mitchell, a woman who ran the tailor shop inside the prison where the two inmates worked. She helped smuggle the men the tools that they needed to dig a tunnel out of the prison, including hiding hacksaw blades in ground beef. Mitchell manipulated prison guard Gene Palmer into helping her transfer certain luxuries to Matt and Sweat, such as the beef for Matt’s “culinary endeavors.” Palmer was complicit in granting the men greater freedoms, but he was unaware that he was also an accessory to their escape plan.
Although this case has been depicted in several TV documentaries and dramatizations, including Showtime’s Escape at Dannemora, HLN’s How It Really Happened stands out for their in-depth investigation into who these men really were and how they were able to carve their way out of prison. Moreover, this episode features exclusive interviews with the man who shot Matt and Matt’s ex-wife and daughter (who rarely speak with the media).
To get the whole scoop, you can catch this episode of How It Really Happened with Hill Harper on HLN this Sunday March 21 at 9 pm to 11 pm ET/PT!