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Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — Court documents show one of the Anamosa inmates charged with killing a prison guard and a registered nurse in March will plead Friday in Jones County District Court.
Thomas Allen Woodard, 39, is charged with first-degree murder, second-degree kidnapping and attempted murder. He was set to stand trial Sept. 21 in Linn County District Court, after a judge granted a change in venue, but a hearing had previously been set for Friday because Woodard asked the court to move his trial out of Linn.
Assistant Iowa Attorney General Scott Brown declined Tuesday to make public the plea agreement, in case the defendant would change his mind.
The other inmate, Michael Dutcher, 28, accused of the same charges in the bludgeoning deaths of correctional officer Robert McFarland, 46, of Ely, and registered nurse Lorena Schulte, 50, of Cedar Rapids, has asked for a bench or non-jury trial, which hasn’t been reset at this time.
Dutcher plans to claim self-defense or in defense of others at trial.
The inmates are accused of attacking the two prison workers with hammers during what authorities said was a failed attempt to escape from the Anamosa State Penitentiary on March 23.
McFarland and Schulte suffered severe head injuries and were found lying on the breakroom floor, according to a criminal complaint.
An inmate, McKinley Roby, suffered blunt-force injuries to his head while he attempted to help staff members.
The assault started about 10 a.m. when Woodard and Dutcher went to the infirmary under the pretense of fixing something, Rick Rahn, an Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation special agent in charge, previously said.
The men had access to hammers and a metal grinder because they had checked them out from the prison maintenance area. They were being supervised by McFarland.
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