Please if you would, allow me to tell you the tale of how one murderous convict—armed with only a big dick and an artist’s temperament—painted his way to freedom. Ahhh, mon cherie, quel monde merveilleux.
Gene Palmer, a 57-year-old guard, was arrested Wednesday. His only crime? Daring to be a patron of the arts, and also allegedly providing the prisoners with tools like a flathead screwdriver and needle-nosed pliers in exchange for paintings.
And there’s an even greater tragedy afoot: we may never know the exact designs by which Richard Matt painted his way into Palmer’s heart, for the paintings were apparently pillaged from posterity in the aftermath of his escape:
Gene Palmer is alleged to have later destroyed the paintings — burning some of them in a fire pit at his home and burying others in woods nearby — after Richard Matt and David Sweat escaped the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora on June 6.
Palmer’s been charged with misconduct, tampering with physical evidence and promoting prison contraband. Curiously, he is not facing charges for destroying what was undoubtedly a masterpiece, the likes of which we may never see again in this lifetime.
For it is Richard Matt’s world, and we are but dust and shadow before him (in the forest, where he will presumably eventually be captured.) As they say, the artist life—she is not for everyone.