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Inmate waives right to jury trial in killing of Anamosa State Penitentiary staff members

Michael Dutcher is one of the two inmates charged in the murders of a correctional officer and nurse at the penitentiary in March.

JONES COUNTY, Iowa — Michael Dutcher, one of the two inmates charged with murder in the death of two Anamosa State Penitentiary staff members, waived his right to a jury trial on Tuesday.

Judge Fae Hoover Grinde accepted the waiver. Dutcher's bench trial is scheduled for August 3.

The deaths occurred when Dutcher was trying to escape the prison with another inmate, Thomas Woodard. When correctional officer Robert McFarland and nurse Lorena Schulte tried to intervene, they were allegedly hit in the back of the head.

Woodard was identified as the inmate who attacked and killed Schulte and McFarland. But both Woodard and Dutcher were charged with two counts of Murder in the First Degree, one count of Attempted Murder and one count of Kidnapping in the Second Degree .

Dutcher was initially committed to Anamosa in 2015 for two counts of first-degree robbery, second-degree robbery and ongoing criminal conduct. He was sentenced to 50 years.