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Man charged in killing of Iowa prison staffers pleads guilty

Prison Staff Killed Iowa
Posted at 3:46 PM, Aug 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-06 16:46:39-04

ANAMOSA, Iowa (AP) — One of two inmates accused of killing a prison nurse and correctional officer during an escape attempt has pleaded guilty to murder and other counts and confessed in court to fatally beating both with a hammer.

Thomas Woodard Jr. pleaded guilty Friday in Jones County to two counts of first-degree murder, one count of kidnapping and one count of attempted murder.

The 38-year-old Woodard and his co-defendant, 29-year-old Michael Dutcher, had each pleaded not guilty in April to the counts in the March 23 deaths of nurse Lorena Schulte and correctional officer Robert McFarland. Investigators have said the pair used hammers to beat Schulte and McFarland to death and to seriously injure an inmate who tried to stop the attack at the Anamosa State Penitentiary.

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