Iowa’s longest serving prison inmate dies at age 84

FORT MADISON, Iowa (AP) — An 84-year-old man convicted of killing a northeast Iowa police officer nearly 65 years ago who later saw his death sentence commuted to life in prison has died at the state penitentiary in Fort Madison. 

Warren John Nutter was the state’s longest serving inmate. Iowa prison officials say he died of natural causes Wednesday morning in a hospice room of the Iowa State Penitentiary where he had been housed due to chronic illness. 

He was 18 when he was sentenced to death by hanging in February 1956 after pleading guilty to killing Independence police officer Harold Pearce. 

In 1957, Gov. Herschel Loveless commuted his death sentence to life in prison.