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Thomas Woodard sentenced to life in prison for Anamosa staff killings

Thomas Allan Woodard Jr. was sentenced to life in prison Thursday for killing Robert McFarland and Lorena Schulte.

JONES COUNTY, Iowa — Thomas Allan Woodard Jr. was sentenced to consecutive life sentences Thursday in the March killings of two Anamosa State Penitentiary staff members.

He pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree murder, one count of second-degree kidnapping and one count of attempted murder earlier this month.

Woodard was also ordered to pay $300,000 total in restitution: $150,000 each to the estates of both Robert McFarland and Lorena Schulte.

McFarland was working as a correctional officer and Schulte was working as a nurse at the time of the attacks. Both were killed when they tried to intervene as Woodard was trying to escape the prison with another inmate, Michael Dutcher, according to court documents.

Earlier this month, Woodard said he hit them in the back of the head with intent to kill.

He was also ordered to pay $306.30 to Lori Mathis, another employee who was threatened during the attacks.

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The victims' loved ones read 11 impact statements during Thursday's sentencing.

“It is the worst nightmare a parent can go through, my heart has been ripped through my body," McFarland's mother said.

The plea allows Woodard to serve his sentence in Nebraska instead of Iowa.

Dutcher has waived his right to a speedy trial and is scheduled for a Sept. 21 bench trial in Jones County.

WATCH: Former Anamosa inmate remembers Lorena Schulte, Robert McFarland fondly