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Friday, July 17, 2020

Iowan meth-king Dustin Honken says a short prayer before being executed

Chivis Martinez for Borderland Beat TY Canadiana from Des Moines Register 

TERRE HAUTE, IND. -- A meth kingpin from Iowa who killed five people, including two young girls, is scheduled Friday to become the third federal inmate to be executed this week, following a 17-year pause in federal executions.

 Dustin Honken, 52, was sentenced to death for killing government informants and children in his effort to thwart his drug trafficking prosecution in 1993.

 Honken is set to die by a lethal injection of the powerful sedative pentobarbital at the federal prison in Terre Haute, Indiana, where he's been on death row since 2005. His lawyers are making last-minute pleas for a reprieve, but their chances of success seem remote after the Supreme Court reversed lower-court orders that sought to block the executions of two other men this week.

Nearly three decades after Dustin Honken’s crime spree gripped Iowa, the small-town boy turned murderous meth kingpin was executed Friday at the Federal Correctional Complex in Terre Haute, Indiana.

Honken's last words were: "Hail Mary, Mother of God, pray for me." His time of death was marked at 3:36 p.m.
Honken — a community college drop-out who created a meth empire in the early 1990s and murdered five people, including two government informants and two children, to stave off a federal drug investigation — was the third federal prisoner to be executed this week.

Daniel Lewis Lee, a white supremacist who killed a three-person family, including an 8-year-old girl, and Wesley Ira Purkey, who raped, murdered, dismembered and dumped the body of a 16-year-old girl in a septic pond, were put to death Tuesday and Thursday, respectively.

Dustin Honken is led by US Marshals into the Federal Courthouse in Cedar Rapids prior to his sentencing on Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2005.

A federal jury in 2004 chose the death penalty for the former methamphetamine dealer after finding him guilty of murder and conspiracy in the 1993 killings of two informants and the girlfriend of an informant and her two daughters.

The executions were scheduled after the Department of Justice announced last year that it would begin to carry out capital punishments after a 17-year hiatus, saying “that defendants convicted of the most heinous crimes should be subject to a sentence of death.”

“We owe it to the victims of these horrific crimes, and to the families left behind, to carry forward the sentence imposed by our justice system,” Attorney General William P. Barr said in a statement.

While Honken’s execution is the last one in this weeklong spree, Keith Dwayne Nelson, who kidnapped and raped a 10-year-old girl is scheduled to be executed Aug. 28.

When the time of death was announced, Honken, 52, became the first Iowan in more than 50 years to be put to death in an Iowa case. In 1963, Victor Feguer, who kidnapped and killed a Dubuque doctor was executed by hanging at the Iowa State Penitentiary.

Iowa abolished the death penalty in 1965, but Honken was convicted in federal court due to the killing of government witnesses, which interfered with a federal case.

Like the other inmates put to death this week, Honken had appealed his sentence up until the last moments before his scheduled execution at 4 p.m. Eastern Time Friday.

But unlike the two executed earlier this week, Honken lacked headline-grabbing mitigating circumstances. In Lewis Lee’s case, his victims’ family had requested his sentenced be reduced to life in prison and in Purkey’s, his lawyers asserted that dementia and schizophrenia meant he was not competent to be executed.

The killer and the crime

The crime Honken was executed for started as a missing person case tangentially connected to a federal drug trafficking charge. But nearly seven years after five people went missing, including witnesses scheduled to testify against Honken regarding his meth operation, a mobbed-up jailhouse informant would lead investigators to the victims’ bodies and a murder plot would unravel.

Honken, who had the look of a classic 1980s nerd and the smarts to back up the appearance was talented in math and science, but was an eloquent writer, too. He had a rare right-left brain combination that made him attractive enough to land a scholarship to North Iowa Area Community College in the early 1990s.

Born into a life of uncertainty, Honken grew up in Britt, a small town west of Mason City in north central Iowa. His father, Jim, a drunken schemer, held powerful sway over his two sons, Jeff and Dustin, Honken’s sister, Angela Nelson, said during her brother’s murder trial.

After convincing Honken, then a recent high school graduate, to steal and copy the key to a local bank, his father robbed it. A second bank robbery would land him in prison, where he would regale his frequently visiting sons with tales of his criminal exploits.

Bumming around before starting at North Iowa, Honken fell into selling marijuana and cocaine, quickly building a list of customers who paid thousands for their fix.

Meth didn’t enter the picture until 1991, after he had completed a year of community college chemistry, earning an A- average.

Within a year, Honken and his childhood friend, Tim Cutkomp, had moved to Arizona, built a sophisticated methamphetamine cooking setup and all but perfected a recipe for pure meth, which they sold mainly through two dealers in northeast Iowa: Terry DeGeus, 32, and Greg Nicholson, 34.

By 1992, their multi-state ring was netting hundreds of thousands of dollars.

But as Honken's operation grew, so too did his dependence on meth and his singular focus on success — no matter the cost.

Soon, he would meet Angela Johnson, a woman who shared his ruthless worldview. Their attraction was mutual, and she would dump shortly dump her current boyfriend, Honken’s dealer, DeGeus, for the boss.

But what Honken didn’t know in early 1993 was that Nicholson had decided to cooperate with federal investigators, wearing a wire to a meet and recording Honken making a $3,000 deal for a future meth pickup. Honken and Cutkomp were promptly arrested on federal drug-trafficking charges.

After inadvertently learning that Nicholson had turned state’s witness, Honken and Johnson set out to find him and force him to recant his statements. They discovered him staying at the home of a friend, Lori Duncan, a single mother with two children, Amber, 6, and Kandi, 10.

Using a ruse to gain entry, Johnson and Honken did make a video of Nicholson denying his previous police statements, but then bound and gagged the adults, forced the children to pack bags and walked them at gunpoint to their car.

Johnson and Honken drove the four to a wooded area north of Mason City where Honken first took Duncan and Nicholson to an already dug grave and shot them execution-style. He then came back for the children and shot them, too.

Later, after learning DeGues also agreed to cooperate with authorities, Johnson tricked him into taking her to a vacant farm where Honken beat and killed him.

With no witnesses, the government dropped their drug case in 1995 and Honken went back to making meth. That stint was a short-lived, however, as he was picked up on new drug charges when his garage was raided in 1996.

This time, his co-conspirator, Cutkomp turned state’s witness, collecting Honken’s musings about destroying evidence, buying a gun and eliminating investigators and others who he thought would testify against him.

Investigators were sure Honken was involved with the earlier missing people; the coincidences were too great, but they were no closer to finding the bodies.

Acting on a tip that Johnson might be skipping town, authorities indicted her with aiding and abetting the murders of Nicholson, Duncan, Kandi, Amber and her ex-boyfriend DeGeus.

Law enforcement had enough evidence to believe Johnson had something to do with the murders, though Honken remained their suspected triggerman. But authorities needed five things before they could begin to prove their case: the bodies.

In jail, Johnson made friends with Robert “Bobby” Gene McNeese, a career criminal doing a life sentence who was a prolific snitch. Saying he knew a “lifer” who may take the rap for her and Honken, McNeese convinced her to tell him details about the crime only a participant would know and to draw him maps to the bodies.

Using this evidence, and testimony from a collection of prisoners Honken told in not-so-subtle terms that he killed a handful of people in 1993, prosecutors brought murder charges against the former underworld honcho.

After a two-month-long trial, the jury found him guilty on all 17 counts. They sentenced him to death specifically for the brutality and senselessness of the children’s killings.

At his sentencing in 2005, Honken recognized the victims’ families had suffered “a senseless destruction of human life” in losing their loved ones, but also declared that their “vengeance toward me is misguided.”

Honken has rarely spoken publicly since his sentencing but maintains his innocence.

Johnson was originally sentenced to death for her part in the crime, had her sentence reduced to life in prison. She offered a measure of apology at her first sentencing in 2005, saying she wanted to tell law enforcement about the killings, but feared for her life.

"It sickens me to know what happened,” she said, “even more so not to tell anyone.”

A federal judge who ordered two last-minute injunctions before other death row inmates were set to be killed this month declined to do so for Honken.

Lawyers for Honken requested in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia a stay of execution. The District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., denied a stay request Thursday as well.

"Honken has not demonstrated a likelihood of success on his claim that the 2019 Protocol is arbitrary and capricious based on its failure to consider the risk of flash pulmonary edema," the court of appeals wrote, citing language used in similar decisions.


  1. Prayers went unheard I'm sure praying to that white homosexual Cesar borgia.

    1. He was praying to Rodrigo Borgia himself. Evil in the flesh.

  2. But that doesn't happen in the USA, and where were the gun owners with their legally own guns to stop all this?

    1. American gun owners own them because we grew up with them hunting and fishing with our parents and friends. We don't use them to to threaten or hurt others. It is not our job to bust up meth labs and hunt down criminals. Your comment is out of ignorance or hate for the United States. And, there are Americans who buy, posess or use guns illegally, they are called criminals.

    2. Sure it does, but not with impunity.

    3. Well that was a stupid comment.

    4. Guess you have no thoughts or actions to ever protect your just leave them to the wolves....what kind of man is that?

    5. what year is this? The Gringos are still selling guns like there's no stores to go get food. But you can't figure out why there's some much GUN violence. Pendejos

    6. 4:15
      Well, well, well, a backhanded admittance that it's all window dressing. My comment is a sincere question to the countless people saying gun owners could stop it all, and your response? Nothing but deflecting and false accusations of ignorance. Look in the mirror.

    7. Talk is cheap I guess haha

    8. After living in Mexico, for 25 years, I wish Mexico would have the 2nd Amendment.

    9. And so do many law abiding Mexicans.

    10. Only three countries in the world currently have a constitutional right to own a gun: the US, Mexico, and Guatemala.

      That's right article 10 of mx constitution gives the right to bear arms but was tweeked/amended years later to restrict the caliber and type of weapon.

      Remember Don Alejo who single handedly fought zetas rather than give up his ranch? he killed 4 and wounded 2 with legal guns.

    11. 3 22

      Guys like him are commenting trying to twist things around
      They are showing up everywhere

      Make the good look bad and the bad look like they are doung nothing wrong

      This type of sickness he has is what is very Evil of the net

      Think If Mexico ever had the Death Pentalty it would be misused and too many innocents would die because Justice sucks there
      You take a life for your own wants and evil ways,, You owe your life

    12. 3:22 ya. Killing of innocents it happens there. But look what happened to the meat head. He was held accountable for what he did. So

    13. 322 Is probably commenting in the US,a false claiming idiot hating on the country he is sitting in?

    14. 6:44
      You are correct, he was held accountable but that is not the stance of gun owners: their stance is "we have guns to stop all this and defend ourselves".

    15. 4:15 Las Vegas Mandalay shooter was legally armed to his tenth, and used everybody's rights to owing weapons to stick them up his victims.
      Matter of fack, legal ownership is used to commit a lot of weapons crimes like selling or losing your weapons to the black market...
      Stop playing possum with your BS propaganda, mathaphakka.

    16. 3:22pm, 9:14pm, 11:18pm... No civilians own guns because they think they can stop all crime. That statement is just retarded. And you put it in quotes like you've actually heard that crap come out of a real gun owners mouth. 🙄 People own guns for many reasons, the foremost being self defense. No one owns guns because they think they are super hero vigilantes who are going to shoot their way to a crime free country.
      And let me guess you want to take away everyones guns and defund the police right? Because if there's no more cops criminals will all stop commiting crimes? Is that the logic?
      People like you are so disconnected from the reality of the world you actually live in it's mind blowing. Don't forget little snowflake you have to actually live in the world you're trying to create. When the criminals come for you and there's no cops to call and you don't have a gun to protect yourself they're going to hurt a lot more than just your feelings. And we know how much you lefties hate to have your feelings hurt. 😄

      -Solothurn la Arma

    17. 2:18AM
      It's in quotes because that's EXACTLY what they say, open your eyes. In fact there's a user "Incongnito" who a day or two just wrote something similar here in BB in another thread. Once you're called out on your ridiculous BS you try to tone down what gun owners say.

    18. 3:22pm, 9:14pm, 11:18pm, 10:28am...

      Ok where? I went back to the tenth. Thats 11 days ago and the user "Incognito" made exactly three comments in that time frame. They were...

      IncognitoJuly 16, 2020 at 4:36 PM
      The dogs are NOT addicted. They are well trained and their reward is usually a simple game of fetch.

      IncognitoJuly 16, 2020 at 4:38 PM
      I have had several black Labs, loved them all

      IncognitoJuly 14, 2020 at 5:32 PM
      He is my kind of padre. God bless and protect him

      So where is this smoking gun quote by "Incognito"? Not seeing any mention of owning a gun much less claiming that they believe their gun ownership will somehow erase all crime. The only BS I see is your ridiculous and unfounded accusation. But as long as you FEEL like that's what hundreds of millions gun owners believe I guess that's all that matters right? In the new age of "wokeness" reactionary emotions are more important than common sense and actual facts.

      -Solothurn la Arma

    19. 11:22AM

      I've been looking for Incognito's comment too, even if not found it doesn't change the fact numerous comments have been posted on BB saying something along these lines "that won't happen here, we're armed and ready to protect ourselves". Can you clarify what "that won't happen here" is supposed to mean?

      Also, I never said or claimed gun advocates are claiming they will stop all crime. I'm simply using their own words against them. I stand by my words, once you're called out on your ridiculous BS you try to tone down their words.

    20. AnonymousFebruary 1, 2018 at 1:28 AM
      Tell you why . Criminals would die . We got guns and know how to use them . We teach our kids gun safety and how to use them . Rob at your own peril.

      That's only from last year, there more. The well armed gun owners have never stopped crime, they have a false sense of security.

    21. Comments like those are usually referring to cartels being able to operate with the same type of impunity here in the USA. Cartels would not be able to openly perpetrate threats and violence against citizens of the USA as they do in MX. Since no cartel has ever been able to achieve that type of power in this country it is impossible to say if either of us are truly correct in our assumptions. I posite that criminal gangs have never been able to achieve that type of power here because of law enforcement officers with integrity and the armed citizens who stand behind them. Although there is no way to prove the validity of that statement or the validity of your counter argument against it.
      I also do believe that American gun owners are a deterrent to certain crimes (burglary of an occupied dwelling, home invasion type crimes to name a few). For instance I can state as a fact that if someone breaks into my house in the middle of the night they will be shot and killed. I sleep with a Glock 27 under my pillow and you better believe it gives me a sense of security. Anyone willing to challenge that sense of security is welcome to break into my house and put it to the test. "Rob at your own peril" was an apt phrase. Gun owners do in fact stop these types of crimes against themselves and it happens more often than you probably think. So the statement that guns and gun owners do stop SOME crimes is an indisputable fact.

      1:46pm... If you think gun owners have a false sense of security then you must have no sense of security because you have no way to defend yourself from someone else who has a gun. I guess you could call the cops if they haven't already been de-funded. Maybe they'll make it in time to save you... Maybe not.

      I'm not going to devote any more time to this discussion because there's absolutely nothing I'm going to say that will open your eyes to reality. And there's nothing your going to say to me to make me think you're right. I'm sure we can debate on almost everything else we believe in on other, newer threads. I see a new story about AMLO and I bet we can debate about that clown all day. 😄 I'll just leave you with a few words that I believe in very much.

      "It is better to have a gun and not need one, than to need a gun and not have one."

      Hopefully you will never need one.

      Take care.

      -Solothurn la Arma

    22. 2:39
      Thank you for your reasoned replies, take care.

  3. Maybe if any of these people on death row actually prayed before committing the crimes they did they would not be stuck on death row in the first place?
    This goes for the whole human race.

  4. Just because most Americans own guns in the United States doesn't mean we run around breaking up meth labs and dealers..think a little bit before you comment out of hate...

    1. I thought long and hard about it - I'm correct.

  5. I’m a legal gun owner what’s the problem with that came from gang land gang member family. Joined military did over a decade there.. if you include race who is the racist?
    We are a specie who comes from savagery what do you expect not to protect yourself?

    1. I've been in the USA army. Stop deflecting.

    2. Just wanna tell you congrats for getting out of that life and showing that you don't have to settle or make excuses... each and every one of us have choices in life. You got out of the cycle. Something many (for multiple reasons, some their fault others not) aren't able to do.

  6. Rest n piss scumbag

  7. It's sad that it took so long for him to be executed. The process is way to long, difficult for the victumn's family, and an enormous waste of resources. This guy wa scum until the end, playing the Jesus card, and no apology to the victumn's family.

    1. It's even more sad that mass shooters get sent to life in prison only.
      All motherfucken killers should be executed. Non of that BULLSHIT mental disabilities crap.

  8. Ghislaine Maxwell is in líne for the death penalty, no trial needed, like Jeff Epstein, they just know/knew, too much

  9. He was bout it- meth made him lose his goddamn mind- he really blew that scholarship to "northern iowa community college" ROFL

  10. I think they should stop putting people to death. There have been far to many innocent people killed by the state. One is to many and as a Human we have no right to take another life no matter what that person has done.

    1. I think if you kill more than one you should be put to death. Mass shooters specially but all these fuckers ALWAYS avoid the death penalty. Fuck the system.

  11. I remember Don Alejo...many times I have thought how I would have helped him place explosives and mines all around the entrance to his ranch. A few claymores would have been blow the shit out of those pos zetas who ganged up on a courageous man who bothered no one.

  12. California is a sanctuary state, he would be alive there..

  13. Excellent 👍 finally being taken out. This is what sicarios should go through, especially when they kill innocent persons.But unfortunately Mexico does not believe in the death penalty.

  14. MEXICO should START doing that to CAPOS and SICARIOS who are POS


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