A career criminal convicted in Iowa 14 years ago has finally received his date with the ultimate punishment.
According to KCCI Channel 8 (a local, CBS-affiliated media outlet based in Des Moines, Iowa), Dustin Honken (pictured) has received an execution date for his role in a slew of federal crimes he was convicted of in 2004. The state of Iowa abolished capital punishment in 1965.
However, the federal court system still enforces the death penalty in capital murder cases. Prior to a recent announcement by the U.S. Department of Justice, a federal death row inmate had not been executed in over 16 years.
However, Dustin Honken was one of the five names read by U.S. Attorney General William Barr on Thursday (July 25). America’s top law man announced the execution dates for the next round of federal death row inmates scheduled to die.
These five executions will be carried out during December 2019 and January 2020, Barr said.
“Under Administrations of both parties, the Department of Justice has sought the death penalty against the worst criminals, including these five murderers, each of whom was convicted by a jury of his peers after a full and fair proceeding,” said Barr in a statement.
“We owe it to the victims and their families to carry forward the sentence imposed by our justice system,” he continued.
The U.S. Department of Justice stopped administering executions after 2003 due to an intensive legal review of drugs the government used for lethal injections. However, federal convicts still received death sentences during the government’s review.
Honken was sentenced to die in 2005 for his role in an ongoing drug dealing enterprise, which employed the use of intimidation, sophisticated meth distribution tactics, and murder. In 1993, Honken’s empire of destruction began to run its course.
During that year, a witness testified against Honken before a federal Grand Jury. However, in 1995, Honken’s original federal drug trafficking charges were dropped when key witnesses started coming up missing and were never found.
But what many criminals often forget is that murder has no statute of limitations.
Ultimately, in 2004, Honken was re-tried for five counts of capital murder and other charges in a substantive, 17-count federal indictment. One of the murder victims was a woman previously listed as a witness. Her two young daughters were also killed.
During the penalty phase of this trial, a federal jury found that the murders of the two young girls were particularly heinous. Honken is scheduled to die by lethal injection on January 15, 2020 at the USP in Terre Haute, Indiana.