DES MOINES, Iowa — Inmates from all nine of Iowa's prisons have donated more than $11,000 to fundraisers supporting the families of two Anamosa State Penitentiary staff members killed while on duty in March, according to the Iowa Department of Corrections .
In March, two prisoners were charged with first-degree murder, attempted murder and second-degree kidnapping after nurse Lorena Schulte and correctional officer Robert McFarland were killed during a failed escape attempt.
Iowa Department of Corrections spokesman Cord Overton said the department's business managers added up donations from inmates made to memorial accounts established for the victims.
"Currently, more than $11,000 has been donated by the inmates through direct donations and fundraisers," he told the Press-Citizen, via email. "Donations have been made from all nine prisons."
'Senseless tragedy': Inmate attacks, kills nurse and correctional officer at Iowa prison
Incarcerated individuals can earn from 27 cents to $1.92 per hour in prison work programs, depending on their jobs and how long they have continuously worked, according to department pay scales.
Overton said incarcerated individuals often participate in fundraisers throughout the year for causes such as Meals from the Heartland and Habitat for Humanity.
The funding efforts show how much inmates were impacted by the killings, said Sue Hutchins, an advocate for incarcerated and formerly incarcerated individuals in Iowa.
Hutchins is the founder of Living Beyond the Bars, a nonprofit that provides reentry services for formerly incarcerated individuals and offers emotional support for their relatives and friends.
She said she was in contact with several people serving life sentences who told her they were heartsick about the loss of Schulte and McFarland.
"What that says to me, is that the people who are incarcerated in prison, that I have contact with ... they are very caring people, they feel awful about what happened, and their hearts go out to these family members," Hutchins said.
She emphasized the story of Anamosa inmate McKinley Roby, who investigators say tried to help Schulte and McFarland and was severely injured during the attack.
Speaking in March, Anamosa inmate David Bradford said he frequently interacted with McFarland and Schulte, and that both were friendly and considerate.
“They were some of the best people around there," he said.
Eddie Walker, who was released from Anamosa in 2019, likewise said he knew the two.
"They deserved to go home and continue their life," he said.
During a trial status conference Friday, the state said Dutcher and Woodard, who have pleaded not guilty, will be tried separately. They had both been scheduled for trial June 22, but prosecutors said Dutcher now will be tried on a different date which has yet to be announced.
Follow Hillary Ojeda on Twitter at @hillarymojeda.
This article originally appeared on Des Moines Register: Iowa inmates donate to families of Anamosa penitentiary attack victims