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Two inmates charged in grisly killings of nurse and guard at Iowa’s Anamosa prison

ANAMOSA, IOWA – Two inmates are charged in the grisly killings of a nurse and guard at Iowa’s Anamosa prison.

According to details released by the state related to the violent prison incident at Anamosa state prison:

On the 23rd of March, 2021, at 10:18 a.m. Jones County Emergency Dispatch received a 9-11 call to dispatch multiple ambulances to the Anamosa State Penitentiary for victims involved in an assault. Dispatch received information there were at least three victims as a result of the assault. Correctional Officer Robert McFarland received a severe rear skull fracture and ultimately was pronounced deceased on the scene. Nurse Lorena Schulte was also pronounced deceased on scene at the penitentiary having received severe head injuries. A third victim, inmate McKinley Roby, received severe injuries to his head and was transported to the U of I Hospitals and Clinics where he was treated.

Multiple agencies were contacted to investigate the incident. They include the Iowa DOC, Iowa DCI, Jones County Sheriff’s Office, Jones County Attorney, and the Attorney General’s Office. Officers learned the scene of the attack leading to the deaths and serious injuries to the victims was on the ground floor of the penitentiary in a break room in the health services lobby. This building is on the northeast side of the penitentiary nearest North High St. in Anamosa. Investigators learned this incident stemmed from an escape attempt by defendant’s Thomas Woodard and Michael Dutcher. There is shattered glass on the windowsill of the breakroom. After removing the glass, a person would have direct access to the bars covering it. A grinder was located on the windowsill that appears to have been obtained for cutting through the bars covering the window.

A prison employee who officed on the second floor just above the break room heard glass break and looked out her window to the ground below. She observed glass on the ground outside of the break room. She ran downstairs and entered the hallway leading to the breakroom. She observed blood inside of the breakroom and the injured staff members. She ran into an adjacent room and notified prison staff of what she believed was an escape attempt.

During this investigation, officers learned inmate McKinley Roby was also been present in the breakroom during the attack. Roby sustained injuries consistent with blunt force trauma to his head. Roby sustained multiple skull fractures but is expected to survive.

During the investigation officers learned that Lori Mathis was located in an adjacent room in the unit. She walked across the hall and into the breakroom where she was grabbed by Dutcher with Woodard present. Mathis was told that she would be next if she did not cooperate. Mathis was held against her will for a period of time before she was released and Dutcher ran out of the break room.

Multiple other staff observed inmate Michael Dutcher running from the area of the breakroom. Dutcher appeared to be covered in blood and continued to run into the adjacent yard where he was apprehended. Officers entered the breakroom where they located inmate Thomas Woodard lying on the floor.

Officers identified the two Anamosa State Penitentiary Staff mentioned above lying on this same floor of the break room with life threatening injuries. It was apparent to these officers the victims had wounds consistent with blunt force trauma.

Also observed in the breakroom were two hammers believed to be the weapons used to inflict the wounds on Schulte and McFarland. One was located on a table and the other was located on a windowsill. Officers learned the hammers had been acquired by unknown persons from the maintenance shop in an adjacent building.

Both Woodard and Dutcher have been identified as the two men attacking and killing Schulte and McFarland. Woodard made admissions that placed him in the room at the time of the killings and a witness identified Woodard as the person who attacked and killed Schulte. Dutcher made admission also placing him in the room and concerning his involvement in the deaths of both victims including admitting responsibility for causing their deaths.

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