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'Pure evil': Anamosa inmate killed nurse, correctional officer with hammer, authorities say

The Iowa Department of Corrections identified the victims killed Tuesday as Lorena Schulte and Robert McFarland.

ANAMOSA, Iowa — Iowa officials have has released the identities of the nurse and correctional officer attacked and killed by an inmate at the Anamosa State Penitentiary Tuesday morning.

Registered nurse Lorena Schulte, 50, had worked at the facility since July 30, 2007. Correctional Officer Robert McFarland, 46, had worked at the facility since October 20, 2008.

"I call this event a tragedy because that is truly at the heart of what took place yesterday— two wonderful people had their lives taken them while they're simply trying to do their jobs here at Anamosa," Iowa Department of Corrections Director Dr. Beth Skinner said. "I want to make it clear about what took place here yesterday— two public servants were taken from this world by an act that I can describe as pure evil."

According to Special Agent Richard Rahn with the DCI, the Jones County Dispatch Center received a call from the facility around 10:18 a.m. Tuesday with a report of three staff being injured. 

Once on scene, authorities found McFarland had received blunt-force trauma to the back of his head. They found Schulte in the facility with the same injury. 

The Ely Fire Department wrote the following on Facebook:

It is with great sorrow and sadness that the Ely Volunteer Fire Department shares the passing of Lieutenant Robert McFarland. Robert’s friendship and dedication to the fire service and community will be greatly missed. Please keep Robert’s family and loved ones in your thoughts and prayers. 

Rest easy Brother. We'll take it from here…

Another individual injured in the incident was McKinley Roby, who also suffered a blunt-force trauma injury to the back of his head. Roby, an inmate, is being treated at the University of Iowa for his injuries. 

Roby attempted to help McFarland and Schulte during the attack and was injured while doing so, Rahn said.

"The investigation thus far has revealed this that the two individuals who are responsible for this heinous act: Thomas Woodard and Michael Dutcher," Rahn said. "They were attempting to escape the facility. And, essentially, Mr. McFarland and Ms. Schulte interceded there, attempted to stop the escape and subsequently received the injuries that they did." 

Dutcher, 28, was initially committed to Anamosa for two counts of first-degree robbery, second-degree robbery and ongoing criminal conduct. He was sentenced to 50 years. 

Dutcher started his sentence on May 14, 2015. His anticipated release date would have been April 18, 2057. 

Woodard, 39, was also initially committed to Anamosa for first-degree robbery as well as first-degree burglary. He was sentenced to 25 years. 

Woodward started his sentence on January 13, 2017. His anticipated release date would have been March 10, 2029. 

Watch the full press conference below

"I won't be able to provide all the information but I can tell you this that Mr. Dutcher and Woodard attempted to escape by shattering glass in the breakroom within the infirmary," Rahn said. "By doing so, that allowed them access to the bars. And they then took a grinder in an attempt to grind away the bars in hopes to be able to escape through the window."

The pair had two hammers and a grinder. 

Rahn said the inmates "were completely unsuccessful" in their attempt to escape. 

McFarland was in the breakroom when he was attacked, Rahn said. Schulte arrived shortly later where she was then attacked. Another staff member came in to assist her fellow employees before she was grabbed by Dutcher. 

The other employee said she was told she would be next if she didn't cooperate. She was held against her will and then released. 

Rahn said witnesses identified Woodard as the inmate who attacked and killed Schulte and McFarland. When Dutcher ran out of the breakroom, witnesses said he was covered in blood. 

Both Woodard and Dutcher have been charged with two counts of Murder in the First Degree, one count of Attempted Murder and one count of Kidnapping in the Second Degree each.

If convicted, they would serve a mandatory life sentence without the possibility of parole. 

DCI is continuing to investigate witnesses and those involved in the incident. 

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