Inmate who stepped in during Anamosa prison murders recalls encounter

Published: Sep. 16, 2022 at 8:47 AM CDT
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ANAMOSA, Iowa (KCCI) - The inmate who stepped in when two Anamosa State Penitentiary employees were being murdered by inmates said he is still recovering from the attacks.

Two inmates killed Robert McFarland and Lorena Schulte with hammers during a failed prison escape on March 23, 2021.

McFarland was a correctional officer. Schulte worked as a prison nurse. The inmates who killed the staffers are Thomas Woodard and Michael Dutcher. Both pleaded guilty to all charges. They are both serving life sentences.

KCCI reports McKinley Roby was on his morning work routine talking with Schulte the day of the murders.

He said Woodard and Dutcher walked in, saying they were there to fix a microwave inside a first floor break room.

Roby and Schulte heard noises and walked into the room to find the inmates had beaten McFarland.

He said that’s when the inmates came for him and Schulte. Roby said stepping in was a natural instinct. He said he considered Schulte and McFarland family, even though they were staff, and he was an inmate.

“I forgot that the guy was behind me,” Roby said. “He was looking at anybody else going and at the same time, he said let’s do this, both of them, let’s do this. He jumped up on us and attacked me from the back. We were all on the floor then, and they were just hitting me with a hammer. I remember just getting hit in the face-- seeing the big bright light I was out.”

Roby had several skull fractures and initially went to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics after the attacks.

Since then, he’s been serving his time at the Iowa Medical Classification Center in Coralville to recover.

He said he has external and internal injuries which may never heal.

“That’s what they said I had PTSD, like people in the army, the stuff they go through.”

Roby is serving a 25-year sentence for criminal sexual assault and is a habitual offender. His release is set for 2027.

Roby requested clemency from the Iowa Parole Board and Governor Kim Reynolds’ office for what he did in Anamosa.

A response letter acknowledges Roby stepped in, but the state will not let him out of prison.