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ANAMOSA, IOWA (WHO) — Two employees of the Anamosa State Penitentiary were killed on Tuesday by two inmates attempting an escape from the prison, authorities announced on Wednesday.
Lorena Schulte, a nurse at the prison, and Robert McFarland, a corrections officer, were both killed after being attacked with hammers on Tuesday morning during the escape attempt. Authorities say inmates Michael Dutcher and Thomas Woodard were attempting to cut through bars on a window in a breakroom using a metal grinder when Schulte and McFarland interceded.
The two were struck in the back of the head with hammers. Schulte was pronounced dead at the scene, McFarland died en route to a local hospital. Another prison employee, Laurie Mathias, and another inmate, McKinley Roby, were assaulted by Dutcher and Woodard as well. On Wednesday DCI authorities called Roby, Schulte and McFarland ‘heroes’.
“Mr. Roby did everything he could to save those two and I will tell you that both Ms. Schulte and Mr. McFarland are heroes. They’re heroes. They did everything they could to help each other but by their actions they were able to save Ms. Mathis’ life. They need to be recognized for that. They gave up their lives and saved another,” said Iowa Division of Criminal Investigations special agent Richard Rahn.
Dutcher and Woodard were taken into custody within the prison. Each are now charged with two counts of first-degree murder and individual counts of attempted murder and Kidnapping. Dutcher was currently serving a 50 year sentence with a tentative release date of April 2057. Woodard was serving a 25 year sentence with a tentative release date of March 2029.
The two inmates were able to checkout the tools used in the attack and attempted escape from a prison tool shop. Exact details of how long they had possession of those tools is still being investigated.
Dutcher and Woodard’s escape attempt was nowhere near successful.
“I can inform everyone here they were not successful whatsoever in making any success when grinding the bars down and there was no concerns about escape in terms of them being able to climb out the window because they were completely unsuccessful in their attempts,” Rahn said.