Woman who aided Arizona prison break sentenced

KINGMAN, Ariz. — A 20-year prison sentence is mandated in a plea agreement entered Tuesday for a woman who delivered guns, transportation, cash, clothes and wire cutters to help three dangerous inmates escape last July from the Arizona State Prison in Golden Valley.

Casslyn Welch, 44, of Payson, pleaded guilty to an escape charge and two counts of armed robbery associated with the hijacking of a truck after the July 30, 2010, prison break.

The deal clears the way for transferring Welch to New Mexico, where she and two of the escapees are charged with the murders of an Oklahoma couple within days of the escape. Mohave County Superior Court Judge Steve Conn told Welch that her Arizona sentence will run concurrent to any prison time in New Mexico.

Welch and the escapees were captured within a month of the prison break. The incident prompted changes in personnel and security procedure at the prison, and wrongful death lawsuits have been filed by family members of the post-escape slaying victims.

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