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Trial set for two inmates accused of killing nurse, officer at Anamosa state prison

ANAMOSA, Iowa (AP) – Trial has been set for two prison inmates accused of using a hammer to kill a prison nurse and correctional officer during an escape attempt last month from the Anamosa State Penitentiary.

Michael Dutcher and Thomas Woodard Jr. are scheduled to go on trial June 22 in Jones County for the March 23 deaths of nurse Lorena Schulte and correctional officer Robert McFarland.

Both men pleaded not guilty earlier this month to two counts each of first-degree murder and other charges. Investigators have said the pair used hammers to beat the 50-year-old Schulte and the 46-year-old McFarland and to seriously injure an inmate who tried to stop the attack. The inmates also are accused of briefly holding another female employee as a hostage.

Authorities have said Dutcher had a long history of disruptive behavior and threats and violence toward prison staff that resulted in discipline, while Woodard had only one blemish on his record: a 2018 assault of another inmate.

Both men are being held in the Iowa State Penitentiary in Fort Madison ahead of the trial.

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