The convicted cop killer who managed to escape a maximum security prison in upstate New York, only to be captured three weeks later, has been sharing details of how he broke out. The NY Times reports, "Night after night for months, David Sweat slipped through a hole he had sawed at the back of his cell in the Clinton Correctional Facility in northern New York. He would plumb the catacomb-like tunnels beneath the prison, where he was serving a life sentence for murder, searching for an escape route, confident that the guards would have no idea he was gone because they were asleep. Then he would return to his empty bunk."

The Times spoke to officials, who revealed that Sweat, who shot by a state trooper on June 28, "has gone into the planning and execution of his bid for freedom in extraordinarily specific terms, portraying himself as the driving force." Sweat, serving a life sentence for killing a sheriff's deputy in Broome County, managed to slip away through the tunnels, through a manhole on the other side of the prison, with fellow inmate Richard Matt, another convicted murderer. The pair were abetted by favors, special treatment and tools from their supervisor in the tailor shop, Joyce Mitchell (who may have been romantically involved with one or both prisoners), and a prison warden who liked Matt's paintings.

Sweat and Matt were discovered missing on the morning of June 6th, when prison officials found dummies made out of sweatshirts in their beds. Matt was fatally shot by police on June 26th while Sweat was wounded by a state trooper on June 28th.

From the Times:

It is a story of patience, timing, determination and physical strength — born perhaps of a life of incarceration — along with good luck, and a MacGyver-like sense of ingenuity. For example, when Mr. Sweat was trying to cut through a concrete wall and heat from steam pipes in the underground passage became unbearable, he rigged a fan taken from his cell using electricity from the tunnel’s lights.

...By February, Mr. Sweat had access to the enclosed catwalks behind the cells, he told the investigators.

He would wait each night until after the 11:30 head count to crawl through the hole, shinny down a series of pipes going down several stories and begin roaming the tunnels. He would return to his cell each morning before the 5:30 a.m. count, camouflage his portal to the maze below and start his daily routine.

At one point he found what he thought would be his way out — a sewer pipe, which he noted was the escape route used in the 1994 film “The Shawshank Redemption,” one of the people said. It turned out to be a dead end.

But he did not give up. Later, according to his account, Mr. Sweat found a spot in a tunnel that ran beneath the prison’s outer walls where a series of pipes passed through the tunnel wall. Mr. Sweat told the investigators that he could see, along the length of the pipes as they traveled through the wall, that they emerged on the other side in another tunnel, some 20 feet away, outside the prison’s walls.

Using a sledgehammer and some other pilfered hand tools, he began to chip away at the concrete of the tunnel wall. Because of the dust and grime, he took a second set of clothes into the tunnel to serve as work coveralls.

Sweat added that he and Matt made Shawshank jokes: "While it had taken Andy Dufresne, the character in the movie played by Tim Robbins, 20 years to escape, it would take them only 10 years."

Mitchell, who was arrested, was supposed to meet Sweat and Matt outside the manhole and drive them away to Mexico, but she allegedly had a change of heart and didn't want to leave her husband. She is hoping for a plea deal. Without a getaway driver, Sweat and Matt were left to roam upstate, spurring a massive NY State manhunt.

Sweat is now in solitary confinement as numerous prison officials have been suspended.