Plea hearing Friday for one inmate charged in deadly Anamosa State Penitentiary attack


Thomas Woodard Jr.

JONES COUNTY, Iowa — A plea hearing has been scheduled for an Iowa prisoner accused of killing two corrections workers at the Anamosa State Penitentiary earlier this year.

Court documents reveal the hearing for Thomas Woodard Jr. will take place at the Jones County Courthouse Friday morning. The documents did not reveal the details of the plea.

Woodard previously pleaded not guilty to a number of charges including first-degree murder and kidnapping. A jury trial is still on the books for next month in Linn County.

Meanwhile, a trial setting conference is being held Wednesday morning for the other inmate charged in connection with the crime, Michael Dutcher. Dutcher’s trial was set to begin last week but has been pushed back.

Michael Dutcher (WHO 13)

Dutcher and Woodard are each charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of nurse Lorena Schulte and correctional officer Robert McFarland. The prison employees were killed on March 23rd during an attempted escape.

The inmates are also charged with kidnapping and attempted murder for allegedly holding an additional prison worker hostage and seriously injuring another inmate, who was trying to help Schulte and McFarland, during the attack.

Officials say the men used hammers in the attack that were checked out from a prison tool shop.

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