Thomas Woodard sentenced to life in prison for killing of 2 Anamosa prison workers

Published: Aug. 26, 2021 at 8:11 AM CDT
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ANAMOSA, Iowa (KCRG) - A judge sentenced Thomas Woodard to life in prison on Thursday after he pleaded guilty to all charges at a hearing earlier this month.

Woodard pled guilty to two counts of first-degree murder, second-degree kidnapping, and an attempt to commit murder in the deaths of two Anamosa prison workers. He was also ordered to pay $150,000 to both the estates of Robert McFarland and Lorean Schulte.

Woodard was ordered to pay more than $300 to Lori Mathis, another prison employee that was threatened during the failed prison escape attempt.

The families and those injured in the attack incident had the opportunity to face Woodard, and tell him how their lives have changed forever. 11 people gave victim impact statements before the sentenced was announced.

Sara McFarland, Robert McFarland’s wife, talked about her husband being a great dad to her children and his service as a volunteer firefighter. She said she was angry on how investigators said Woodard killed her husband.

“The fact that you hit him with a hammer-like you couldn’t have cared less about him makes me angry than I have ever been in my life,” McFarland said. “I have never hated anyone like I hate you and to be quite honest I hope you rot in hell for what you took from us all.”

She said she’s upset that her husband won’t be able to see his son’s wedding, his first grandchild or help make medical decisions regarding her other son.

Cathie McFarland, Robert McFarland’s mom, said she was suffering from multiple mental health problems.

“I wanted to die,” she said. “I asked god, to take me instead of my son,”

Lorena Shulte’s family also spoke today. They talked about her love of gardening, strong determination, how much she enjoyed amusement parks with family members, and monthly lunch dates.

Gretchen Dixon, who is Lorena Schulte’s sister, said she was heartbroken when she found her sister died. She said one of the most frustrating parts was that her children were robbed of their aunt.

Investigators say Woodard and another inmate, Michael Dutcher, killed two workers at the Anamosa State Penitentiary in March. Dutcher claims the killings were in self-defense and has pleaded not guilty. He waived his right to a speedy trial.

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