Family relives deputy’s death after convicts escape New York prison

Deputy Kevin Tarsia (WTEN)


This story is courtesy of our sister station WTEN in Albany, NY.

BROOME COUNTY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – As officials search for two murderers who escaped from an upstate correctional facility, one of their victims’ family members are reliving their loved ones horrific death.

David Sweat, 34, and Richard Matt, 48, escaped from the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, N.Y. early Saturday morning. The two were last seen in their neighboring cells around 10:30 p.m. Friday.

PHOTOS | Search continues for 2 escaped New York inmates

Police said the two used power tools to drill through a wall and worked their way to a tunnel that led to a manhole about a block from the prison.

In 2002, Sweat shot and killed Broome County Sheriff’s Deputy Kevin Tarsia. Sweat was serving a life sentence at maximum security prison for Tarsia’s murder. The deputy’s family thought Sweat would be imprisoned forever, but now they are reliving his horrific death.

David Sweat

“They said they couldn’t give him the death penalty,” Tarsia’s father, Phillip Tarsia, said. “That’s what they told us, so they gave him life without parole.”

On July 4, 2002, Tarsia was brutally murdered by three robbery suspects when he confronted them near Binghamton.

“Well, he’s dangerous,” Tarsia’s brother, Daniel Tarsia, said over the phone. “He did my brother brutally.”

Police said Sweat shot Tarsia and drove over him with a car.

“You don’t shoot his nose out,” Daniel said. “Shoot him 16 times. Shoot him through the hand. I don’t know. He’s just, he’s a sick guy.”

Daniel learned of Sweat’s escape from the Clinton Correctional Facility on Saturday.

“I said, ‘Oh man, I don’t know how they managed that,’” and then I heard they got equipment to get out, and they come up with money must be somehow,” he said.

Prior to killing Tarsia in 2002, Sweat and his two accomplices robbed a store in Pennsylvania stealing guns.

“That’s one thing, too,” Daniel said. “They like guns.”Richard Matt

Daniel said he wasn’t aware of the now $100,000 reward for Sweat.

“Maybe somebody will turn them in,” he said.

Daniel said he does have a fear that Sweat might come back home as he’s from Broome County.

“I think he would, but I don’t know where his gang is,” he said. “Maybe they’re not even around here. Who knows?”

Broome County Sheriff David Harder said the same deputies that worked on Tarsia’s case are now on the search for Sweat and Matt. They said they have already reached out to family, friends and anyone that knows Sweat.

Harder said they are worried about who Sweat will kill next.

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