Thu 25-JUN-2015 Noon News Script


Good afternoon. A second Dannemora prison employee will be arraigned in court today -- accused of helping the two convicted murderers escape from prison more than two weeks ago. the maximum security facility. Cat Viglienzoni has more on the allegations against Gene Palmer.


((PRISON VO AND PALMER MUG)) According to court paperwork, Palmer allegedly brought a flathead screwdriver and needle-nose pliers into the prison for wanted killers Richard Matt and David Sweat. Prosecutors say it happened four times -- sometime between November of last year and when the inmates escaped on June 6th. Authorities say Palmer provided the materials in exchange for a number of paintings from the escapees. ((ATTORNEY VO)) Wednesday night -- Palmer's attorney addressed allegations that his client was involved in bringing tools into the prison in frozen hamburger meat. ((Andrew Brock -attorney 4:25 " It was a mistake, he trusted Joyce Mitchell, Joyce Mitchell knew what was in that meat, my client didn't but looking back on it now he feels terrible. He didn't intend for any of this to happen. It's common practice for the inmates to be able to cook inside of their cells a lot, I'm not going to say all but a lot of inmates do that and guards have given inmates food before 49 )) - ((PALMER MUG AGAIN)) But prosecutors also say the 28-year- prison employee took steps to destroy potential evidence. They say sometime after Matt and Sweat were on the run Palmer burned the paintings in a fire pit at his home on Reservoir Road in Dannemora. Authorities say Palmer also buried paintings from the pair in the woods off Bart Merrill Road in Dannemora during the same time period. Palmer faces a charge of promoting prison contraband and two counts of tampering with physical evidence -- all felonies. He also faces a misdemeanor charge of official misconduct. If convicted -- he could spend more than 10 years in prison. ((CATTAG)) Palmer was placed on leave Friday as part of the investigation. He is expected to plead not guilty to those charges in court this afternoon. Cat Viglienzoni, Channel 3 News, Plattsburgh.


Meanwhile, the manhunt for Matt and Sweat continues in the Adirondacks. Some are wondering if the old railroad beds in Northern New York are guiding the killers -- as they continue to dodge investigators 20 days after escaping. The railroad beds stretch all the way from near the prison in Dannemora to Owls Head -- where most of Wednesday's activity was centered. Officers have been using ATVs to access the area -- a task made challenging by wetland terrain.

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Donald Fell - the Vermont man facing a death penalty retrial -- is now accused of stabbing an inmate in prison. In a civil rights suit -- not a criminal case -- Fell is accused of stabbing the man while he was on death row in Indiana. Fell was convicted and sentenced to death a decade ago for the killing of Terry King. But last year, a judge ordered a new trial after it was revealed a juror had investigated the case on his own. Now, James Roane Junior says he was attacked by Fell in 2012 at the U.S. Penitentiary in Terre Haute. He is suing Fell and several prison employees.


A former state employee who admitted stealing thousands of taxpayer dollars is headed to prison. Lisa Peduzzi was a claims examiner with the Vermont Office of Risk Management. Prosecutors say she used state checks totaling $217-thousand dollars -- on personal shopping sprees. She then covered her tracks with fake insurance claims. This morning, the 52-year-old Plainfield woman was sentenced to 18 months behind bars. She'll begin serving her sentence July 12th.

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Vermont's lone Congressman is hailing an Obamacare decision by the U-S Supreme Court. In a six-to-three ruling today, the justices upheld nationwide tax subsidies that help make insurance affordable for more than 8-million Americans. The ruling is a blow for opponents of the Affordable Care Act -- but supporters love it. Including Vermont Congressman Peter Welch who admits the law is not perfect -- but says Congress needs to focus on fixing it rather than repealing it.


More improvements are on the way for Burlington's Bike Path. Today, Mayor Miro Weinberger announced the kickoff of a public campaign to raise 500-thousand dollars to add so-called "pause places" to the bike path. The fourteen spots would include spaces like small parks or amenities, including information stops, drinking fountains, or benches. The city says the bike path upgrades need to go beyond just the pavement.


((SOT Jesse Bridges, Director of Burlington Parks, Recreation, and Waterfront 1646 Let's create a sense of place, let's create these amenities that, like the vision for the boardwalk here years ago, allows for our residents to get out, to recreate, and to enjoy themselves 58 to get healthy 1700)) 500 thousand dollars has already been raised for the project though a private financing campaign. For more information, visit our infocenter at wcax-dot-com.

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Last Update: Thu 25-JUN-2015
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