USA - Dustin Honken, 52, White, was executed at Terre Haute federal prison.
|USA - Dustin-Honken (2004)
July 17, 2020:
Dustin Honken, 52, White, was executed. He was pronounced dead at 4:36 p.m., the Bureau of Prisons said.
Media witnesses were escorted into the media area of the chamber at 4:03 p.m. I heard a few brief mumbles behind the windows into the area where Honken was already strapped to the gurney. The curtain was lifted at 4:05 p.m. and a minute later the marshal notified the gallery there were no legal impediments to the execution. By 4:36 p.m. he was pronounced dead.
Like all death row inmates strapped to the gurney, Honken was given the opportunity to make a final statement. He did not raise his head to address the media witnesses, victim’s families or his own witnesses.
Instead, he looked toward the ceiling and recited a poem called Heaven-Haven by the English Jesuit Gerard Manley Hopkins.
Honken then proceeded to pray. “Hail Mary, full of grace,” he said, “pray for me. I am a sinner.”
He ended his remarks by saying, “Mary Mother full of God, pray for me.”
US District Judge Leonard Strand on Tuesday denied Honken's request to delay his execution because of the coronavirus pandemic. Strand also denied Honken's motion to declare his execution void and said the Bureau of Prisons has authority in implementing the execution and setting the date.
He reportedly had become a devout Catholic following his incarceration, drawing the support of church officials, including a cardinal and several Iowa bishops.
Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, who had visited Honken and other inmates at the prison, wrote a letter to President Donald Trump last week asking that he commute Honken's sentence and telling the President that he had witnessed Honken's "spiritual growth in faith and compassion." Earlier this month, a group of Catholic bishops in Iowa also sent a letter to Trump asking him to commute the sentences of Honken, Lee, Purkey and Keith Dwayne Nelson, who is scheduled to be executed in August.
Father Mark O'Keefe, Honken's spiritual adviser, who gave him his last rites, filed a motion requesting an injunction to delay the execution until after the coronavirus pandemic because of potential exposure to the virus and health risks, which was denied. In the motion, counsel for O'Keefe -- who is 64 -- argued he would "assume the risk of contracting and spreading Covid-19 in order to honor his religious obligation" and that the government had placed "a substantial burden" on his religious exercise.
Dustin Honken was sentenced to death on October 11, 2005.
Honken had begun manufacturing methamphetamine in the early 1990s in Arizona. According to court records, he relied on two men, Greg Nicholson and Terry DeGeus, to sell the product in Iowa. Federal investigators found meth at Nicholson’s house, and he agreed to help them build a case against his supplier.
In late 1993, Nicholson and DeGeus disappeared, along with Nicholson’s girlfriend Lori Duncan and her two daughters, Kandace and Amber, ages 6 and 10.
Initially, prosecutors did not have enough evidence against Honken to charge him with murder, but he was sentenced to 27 years in prison on drug charges. Then, in 2000, the bodies of the victims were found buried near Mason City, Iowa. Johnson—Honken’s former girlfriend who was in jail facing drug charges of her own—furnished details of the locations of the bodies to a fellow county jail inmate, who in turn cooperated with investigators.
In a separate trial on December 20, 2005, Johnson was sentenced to death. Johnson's death sentence was overturned in 2012 because her mental problems had not been adequately addressed. Johnson was sentenced to life in prison without parole in 2014.
Iowa abolished the death penalty in 1965, but Honken was convicted in federal court because he killed government witnesses, interfering with a federal case. Dustin Lee Honken was the was the 10th person executed this year in the USA, the 1,522nd executed in the United States since 1976, the 6th person executed in the federal system since it resumed executions in 2001.
https://deathpenaltyinfo.org/news/federal-government-prepares-for-third-execution-in-one-week-as-challenges-to-execution-protocol-fail (Source: DPIC, CNN, The Next To Die, 17/07/2020)