Escaped convict still might be alive if he didn't get his drink on

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Credit: Keoni Cabral via Flickr

One of the two killers who escaped last month from an upstate New York prison was discovered and eventually shot dead after he had been drinking.

Richard Matt, 49, broke out of maximum security Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, N.Y., in early June with fellow inmate David Sweat. Matt was serving 25 years to life for killing his 72-year-old boss in 1997 and then dismembering his body.

The pair managed to elude an intense manhunt for nearly three weeks before Matt died in an exchange of gunfire with a U.S. Border Patrol agent. Two days later, Sweat was shot and arrested.

The Albany Times-Union has a fascinating story detailing the events leading up to Matt's death and Sweat's capture. And the big break in the manhunt came in the form of a bottle:

A pair of off-duty state prison workers were checking a hunting cabin off Route 30 in the town of Malone, Franklin County, looking for anything out of the ordinary.

And then!...

An open bottle of Seagram's grape gin was on the Formica counter of the rustic cabin — a scruffy hunter's respite with a red-felt pool table, logs piled next to a wood stove, a bare-bones kitchen and decorations that include deer antlers nailed to plywood walls.

Nice details, Times-Union staffer Brendan J. Lyons!

Then the two guys called the escapee hotline and state police. Suddenly gunshots rang out because Matt...

...was alone in the woods nearby, clutching his 20-gauge shotgun and possibly drunk from the liquor he'd pilfered from cabins. He and Sweat had split up a day or two earlier, Sweat would later tell investigators, because Matt was out of shape, drinking too much and slowing them down.

Shortly after, Matt was dead from three bullets to the head. 

This story, "Escaped convict still might be alive if he didn't get his drink on" was originally published by Fritterati.

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