(CNN) – Captured convicted killer David Sweat claims he was the “mastermind” behind the elaborate prison break 26 days ago.
According to District Attorney Andrew Wylie, the former fugitive says he and fellow inmate Richard Matt nearly escaped the maximum security prison the night before on their “dry run”, but decided the first manhole they reached was not secluded enough.
Sweat told investigators that Joyce Mitchell was supposed to pick them up and drive to West Virginia before heading to Mexico. “There was occasions where they heard the helicopters,” said Wylie.
Wylie told NBC News that Sweat and Matt often tuned into A.M. radio while on the run, continuing to change directions as they moved toward Canada. Sweat said he and matt were very close to being caught several times
“A sheriff’s deputy vehicle had pulled up in the vicinity of where they were and they were somewhat surprised and I think he said Matt fell backwards and made some noise but the sheriff’s deputy didn’t locate them,” said Wylie.
Wylie also told NBC News at one point, Sweat said authorities were combing the forest floor while he was hiding in a tree-stand used for hunting, right above them.
This as we are now seeing a graphic image of Richard Matt moments after he was shot. The photo shows Matt, lying on the ground, a gunshot wound to the top of his skull.
Meanwhile, CNN learns the inmates started planning and may have started cutting through the prison walls 6 months ago.
The scrutiny intensifying on the correctional facility as a dozen employees are now on administrative leave. Including prison executives like Superintendent Steven Racette, who initially led Governor Andrew Cuomo on a tour of how the convicts broke free.