An inmate convicted in the beating deaths of two Iowa prison workers during a failed escape attempt in March received a life sentence Wednesday, the second inmate to receive life in prison in the case, the Associated Press reported.
According to investigators, inmates Michael Dutcher, 28, broke into the Anamosa State Penitentiary infirmary under the guise of performing maintenance work. Dutcher and his accomplice then accessed a break room and used a handheld power saw to dismantle the bars on a window.
The inmates used hammers to beat 50-year-old correctional officer Robert McFarland and nurse Lorena Schulte, 46. Another inmate, McKinley Roby, was seriously injured while trying to stop the attack.
Roby told Dutcher that he will suffer “lifelong scars and trauma” from the attack.
“May you rot in hell and your soul go to hell for the lives you took and the pain and suffering you caused,” he said.
For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.
Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation/AP File
Dutcher pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of McFarland and Schulte. He also pleaded guilty to kidnapping another prison worker during the failed escape and to attempted murder for the beating of an inmate who tried to stop the attack.
Judge Fae Hoover-Grinde sentenced Dutcher to serve back-to-back life sentences plus another 50 years behind bars, in what she called an attempt to provide solace to the victims’ families. She told Dutcher, whose trial had been scheduled to start next week, that she couldn’t imagine a worse crime.
Hoover-Grinde last month sentenced inmate Thomas Woodard to life in prison for his role in the attacks. Both inmates had been serving time at the Anamosa prison for armed robbery convictions.
The pair, who also held prison dental assistant Lorie Matthes as a hostage, had accessed the tools from a prison work program. Matthes was able to be freed, and the pair was arrested soon afterward.
Matthes, a 29-year employee of the Iowa Department of Corrections, recalled in a victim impact statement how Dutcher grabbed her out of a hallway and forced her into the break room. She said the attack altered her life “physically, emotionally and mentally,” explaining that she suffered broken ribs and other injuries and she still struggles with the mental harm.
“The evilness that took place that day will never be forgotten,” she said.
Schulte’s sisters and parents described her as a doting aunt and loyal daughter who had looked forward to spending time with family and traveling during retirement.
“My sister was a good person,” Isabel Schulte told Dutcher. “I hate you and I hate your friend.”