Scott Brown. (KCRG TV photo)

The prosecutor in the case of the inmate who pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree murder Friday in the deaths of two employees at the Anamosa prison says such pleas are rare.

Assistant Attorney General, Scott Brown, told KCRG TV that he has been a prosecutor for almost 30 years and never had anybody plead guilty to the felony charge.

Inmate Thomas Woodard also pleaded guilty to one count of second-degree kidnapping, and one charge of attempted murder. Woodard will now spend the rest of his life in prison without the possibility of parole — and the deal calls for him to be transferred to the Nebraska prison system to serve his sentence.

Brown mentioned Nebraska was one of several options the Department of Corrections had on where to send Woodard.
“Because of populations, things of that nature they do have an interstate compact with a number of states where they transfer prisoners back and forth, it’s not unusual to do that,” Brown said. Woodard is a Nebraska native, but Brown says they had a range of options, and Nebraska happened to be the one that was able to take him.

The victims’ families were present at the plea hearing at the Jones County courthouse. Brown said they supported the plea deal and said it is a relief for the families to not have to sit through a trial. Woodard now awaits sentencing. The date for that hearing is yet to be determined. The other inmate charged in the killings — Michael Dutcher, has pleaded not guilty and opted for a bench trial.