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Honken denies murders as he receives death sentence (federal case in non-death penalty Iowa)
Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier ^ | October 12, 2005 | Bob Link, Courier Lee News Service

Posted on 10/12/2005 1:53:43 PM PDT by xjcsa

CEDAR RAPIDS --- Before being sentenced to death Tuesday, Dustin Honken declared his innocence. He went on, accusing the judge of having a "death agenda."

Honken, 37, formerly of Britt, was convicted in October 2004 of murdering five people in 1993. He did not take the stand in that case.

U.S. District Court Judge Mark Bennett issued two sentences of death by lethal injection for Honken's part in killing two children. Honken received sentences of life in prison for murdering three adults.

"I have taken no persons' lives," Honken told Bennett. "You believe me guilty, but it is not so."

The sentencing hearing lasted a little more than an hour. Honken arrived in the courtroom in Cedar Rapids dressed in an orange prison jumpsuit. His arms were shackled at his waist. He had shaved his head and was carrying several pieces of paper, which contained his statement.

Marvea Smidt, Honken's mother; and her husband, Ron, were seated several rows behind him in the courtroom.

Honken spoke after family members of his victims had their turns. He admitted destroying and withholding evidence but said he only found out about the murders after the fact.

"Some of you came today to see me squirm, tremble in fear or beg for mercy. Sorry, but you are wasting your time," Honken said. "I have committed many wrongs, but never have I taken another life."

Honken told the victims' relatives their beliefs about him are incorrect.

"Your vengeance toward me is misguided," he said.

Honken started his statement by saying 10 years of time in maximum security federal prisons callused and hardened him. Already serving a 27-year prison sentence for drug trafficking, Honken said prison turned him into a loner, with books as friends, not fellow inmates.

Well into the lengthy statement, Honken ridiculed Bennett, a former civil rights attorney, and belittled prosecutors. He called them magicians and tricksters who won their case by stoking the jury's emotions.

"I was convicted because of passion --- not hard evidence," Honken said. "Jurors only had a keyhole view on what really happened. They were given a jigsaw puzzle with half of it missing."

Honken told Bennett, "Skip the speech and pronounce the sentencing," indicating he wouldn't listen to the judge.

Honken was one of the Midwest's early, large-scale producers of nearly pure methamphetamine. He started his operation in Arizona and brought the product to Iowa.

A jury convicted Honken in the execution-style slayings of two former dealers who turned informants, Greg Nicholson and Terry DeGeus. Honken was also found guilty of killing Nicholson's girlfriend, Lori Duncan, and her two daughters, Kandi, 10, and Amber, 6.

Nicholson, Duncan and her daughters disappeared from Duncan's home in Mason City in July 1993, just days before Honken was scheduled to plead guilty to drug charges. DeGeus disappeared months later.

The bodies were found in late 2000 after Honken's former girlfriend, Angela Johnson, scrawled a map and gave the paper to a jailhouse informant. The graves were discovered outside Mason City.

Honken was convicted after a 10-week trial in Sioux City. Jurors recommended the death penalty. Federal law allows judges no discretion to divert from the jury's recommendation.

Bennett's sentence was brief and to the point. He announced each of the 17 charges and the penalty, saving the four charges involving the two girls for last.

Honken will likely be taken to a federal prison in Terre Haute, Ind., where death row inmates await their fate. His attorneys are expected to begin a lengthy appeals process.

Honken's attorneys declined comment on Tuesday's events.

"This was a hard day," Alfredo Parrish said.

Johnson, 42, was convicted earlier this year as an accomplice and also faces the death penalty. Sentencing has not been set.

Contact Bob Link at (641) 421-0538 or

TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; News/Current Events; US: Iowa
KEYWORDS: deathpenalty
OK we're not a death penalty state, but it's still not a good idea to kill witnesses in a federal trial. Or their kids.
1 posted on 10/12/2005 1:53:50 PM PDT by xjcsa
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To: All

It just doesn't matter if Iowa is a death penalty state or not. This is a federal case and the feds will execute the sob, probably in Terre Haute.

2 posted on 10/12/2005 2:20:50 PM PDT by negril
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To: negril
the feds will execute the sob, probably in Terre Haute.

Honken might die of old age first. It sure doesn't sound like he's interested in pulling a Tim McVeigh.

3 posted on 10/12/2005 2:31:42 PM PDT by newgeezer (...until the voters discover they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury.)
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