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Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
An Iowa prisoner charged with bludgeoning to death an Anamosa prison guard and nurse as part of an escape attempt plans to plead guilty to the charges Wednesday
Michael A. Dutcher, 28, had said previously he would claim at trial the slayings were in self-defense or defense of others.
But court filings Monday show Dutcher now plans to plead guilty Wednesday to the charges in the trial information, which are two counts of first-degree murder, second-degree kidnapping and attempted murder. The plea hearing is scheduled for 9 a.m. at the Jones County Courthouse in Anamosa.
The March 23 attack started about 10 a.m., when Thomas Woodard, 39, and Dutcher went to the infirmary at the Anamosa State Penitentiary under the pretense of fixing something, Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge Rick Rahn said in March.
The men had hammers and a metal grinder checked out from the prison maintenance area and were being supervised by correctional officer Robert McFarland, 46, of Ely. They used the hammers to strike McFarland and registered nurse Lorena Schulte, 50, of Cedar Rapids, in the heads, killing them, investigators said.
Woodard and Dutcher broke a window and were attempting to use the grinder to cut through the metal bars on the window, but failed. They also used a hammer to strike another offender, McKinley Roby, who was trying to help the staff, investigators said.
During the botched escape, Dutcher and Woodard briefly took Lorie Matthes hostage, but did not physically harm her.
Woodard pleaded guilty as charged and was sentenced last month to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
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