ANAMOSA, Iowa — Murder, attempted murder and kidnapping charges were filed Wednesday against two inmates of the Anamosa State Penitentiary following a failed escape attempt Tuesday during which they bludgeoned to death a prison guard and a prison nurse and severely injured another inmate.
Michael Aaron Dutcher, 28, of Sioux City was charged with two counts of first-degree murder, one count of attempted murder and one count of second-degree kidnapping.
Thomas Allan Woodard, 39, of Union, Nebraska, was charged with two counts of first-degree murder, one count of attempted murder and one count of second-degree kidnapping.
The incident occurred about 10:15 a.m. in a break room in the health services lobby of the penitentiary, according to court records.
Correctional Officer Robert McFarland, 46, was pronounced dead at the scene as a result of “a severe rear skull fracture,” and Nurse Lorena Schulte, 50, was pronounced dead at the scene as a result of “severe head injuries,” according to court records.
A third victim, inmate McKinley Roby, 57, received “multiple skull fractures” and was transported to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, where he was treated. Roby is expected to survive.
Two hammers were found at the scene that were “believed to be the weapons used to
inflict the wounds on Schulte and McFarland,” according to court records. Investigators determined that “the hammers had been acquired by unknown persons from the maintenance shop in an adjacent building.”
Lori Mathis, a state employee, entered the breakroom during the course of the attempted escape, and “she was grabbed by Dutcher with Woodard present.” The criminals told Mathis “that she would be next if she did not cooperate.” She was held until “Dutcher ran out of the breakroom,” according to court records.
Dutcher was then seen “running from the area of the breakroom” and was “covered in blood,” according to court records. He was apprehended shortly thereafter. Woodard was found “lying on the floor” of the breakroom alongside the victims.
A witness “identified Woodard as the person who attacked and killed Schulte,” according to court records, and Dutcher admitted “responsibility for causing their deaths.”
The investigation of the crime involved the Iowa Department of Corrections, Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, Jones County Sheriff’s office, Jones County Attorney and Iowa Attorney General’s office.
Dutcher was serving a 25-year sentence following a 2015 conviction for first-degree robbery in Ida County District Court and a 25-year sentence following a 2015 conviction for first-degree robbery, second-degree robbery and ongoing criminal activity in Woodbury County District Court.
Woodward was serving a 25-year sentence following a 2017 conviction for first-degree robbery and first-degree burglary in Woodbury County District Court.
*A criminal charge is merely an accusation, and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.