Where Is Richard Matt Now? The ‘Escape At Dannemora’ Prisoner Became Infamous After His Attempted Prison Break
In Showtime's seven-part true crime miniseries Escape at Dannemora, Benicio Del Toro plays Richard Matt, an imposing inmate at Clinton Correctional Facility (locally known as "Dannemora" after the town it's in). He appears to run his cell block and has a special relationship with a guard named Gene Palmer who offers him preferential treatment in exchange for information on the other inmates. But on Jun. 6, 2015, Matt and another inmate named David Sweat escaped from the facility. Viewers who are unfamiliar with the story may be wondering: where is Richard Matt now?
Warning: Spoilers ahead
Although Sweat was apprehended and taken into custody alive, Matt was unfortunately killed by police after being discovered. The two were friendly when they were in prison together, as the series depicts, but director and executive producer Ben Stiller speculated about the depth of their bond in a recent interview with NPR. For instance, Matt was a talented celebrity portraitist and even taught Sweat how to paint while they were in prison together. But after their escape, the pair appeared to have diverging objectives. Sweat, who wanted to make a run for the Canadian border, was apparently frustrated with how slowly Matt moved. Matt wanted to hole up in a cabin and he drank a lot, which also frustrated Sweat. (When Matt was killed, his blood alcohol level was more than twice the legal limit.)
Stiller said to NPR of the two men's friendship:
That to me was really one of the ultimate questions of the whole thing after getting involved with it and learning about the story, was that question... what was their relationship, Matt and Sweat? In terms of: Was it just one of sort of mutual dependency — they both wanted to get out so they sort of had a common goal together?... Ultimately when they got out on the run and they were out, it was a different environment for the two of them because they were both — you know, they had choices. But I think it was a curious relationship between the two of them.
On Jun. 26, 2015, Matt reportedly fired a gunshot at a passing car, which led police to him. They confronted him outside the cabin he was hiding out in, but he refused to drop his weapon, leading police to shoot and kill him. It was the day after his 49th birthday.
Sweat had left Matt behind three days earlier and was making a beeline for the Canadian border. But on Jun. 28th, he, too, was discovered by a state trooper. Sweat took off on foot, leading the state trooper to draw his weapon and fire two rounds, eventually striking him. Sweat survived his gunshot wound and was taken back into custody.
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