The two prisoners charged in the murders of a nurse and guard at the Anamosa State Prison were both formerly held in the Woodbury County Jail.
Twenty-eight-year-old Michael Dutcher of Sioux City, and 39-year-old Thomas Woodard of Union, Nebraska are each charged with first-degree murder, attempted murder, and second-degree kidnapping in the Tuesday killings. Woodbury County Chief Deputy Tony Wingert remembers issues Dutcher.
“He was a problem inmate. With Dutcher, his actions made us more heightened, we would have extra officers escort him. He is in our computer numerous times while incarcerated for incidents — for acting out, for fighting for disobeying rules, for just being anti-social,” according to Wingert. “He was somebody we knew we had to be extra cautious around, because of what he was going to do.”
Winger says the deaths at the Anamosa prison are a grim reminder that jail staff deal with dangerous inmates every day. “It’s a tragedy, it just shows how fast something can happen. No matter if you think you are doing everything right — something can change in the blink of an eye,” Wingert says. “And unfortunately with a tragedy like this, it does make our staff take a step back and go ‘alright I’ve got to up my game even higher.”
The DCI says Dutcher and Woodard struck and killed registered nurse Lorena Schulte and correctional officer Robert McFarland with a hammer when they tried to stop them from escaping. Dutcher and Woodard served time in Woodbury County on several robbery and theft charges.
Wingert says Dutcher was in the Woodbury County Jail after a bank robbery in Holstein where he had a gun. And another gun was stolen.
Dutcher was taken to Anamosa in May of 2015 to serve a 50-year sentence for first-degree robbery, second-degree robbery, and other charges. Woodard arrived at Anamosa in 2017 for a 25-year sentence for first-degree robbery and burglary. Both now face life in prison if convicted of the murders.
(By Woody Gottburg, KSCJ, Sioux City)