Inmate pleads guilty in deadly Anamosa State Penitentiary attack

State News

JONES COUNTY, Iowa – A second inmate charged with the murders of two Anamosa State Penitentiary staff members has pleaded guilty and will spend the rest of his life in prison.

At a combined plea and sentencing hearing Wednesday morning, Michael Dutcher pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree murder, one count of second-degree kidnapping, and one count of attempted murder.

Michael Dutcher (WHO 13)

He initially entered a not guilty plea to those charges and a bench trial was scheduled for September 21st, before Dutcher decided to change his plea.

Thomas Woodard Jr.

Dutcher, along with Thomas Woodard Jr., killed nurse Lorena Schulte and correctional officer Robert McFarland during an attempted prison escape on March 23rd. They also held another prison worker hostage and seriously injured another inmate, who was trying to help Schulte and McFarland, during the attack.

Dutcher and Woodard used hammers in the attack that they got through a work program at the prison.

Woodard pleaded guilty to the same charges back in August.

The mandatory sentence for first-degree murder in Iowa is life in prison.

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