Meth and Murder: The Drug Kingpin who Executed 5 Iowans to Stay Out of Prison
Dustin Honken, who was recently mentioned in an article referencing the disappearance of Jodi Huisentruit, was beyond his years in his knowledge of chemistry, showing off what he was capable of at community college in Iowa.
So much so that he took that knowledge and deemed it better to drop out of school and start selling methamphetamine instead.
No, this isn't the story of Breaking Bad and Walter White.
This is much, much worse.
Honken, who began selling cocaine and marijuana to start his 'career' as a drug dealer, quickly shifted to meth and moved to Arizona to further his operation.
Still distributing throughout Iowa, the Britt native sold the product through two men remaining in his home state -- Terry DeGues and Greg Nicholson.
The partnership didn't last long, as Nicholson began cooperating with federal investigators after being under suspicion of trafficking drugs. Honken would then be arrested and indicted for conspiring to manufacture meth, as Nicholson secretly recorded Honken prior to testifying in front of a jury.
Honken would then inform the court that he planned to plead guilty, but that wouldn't last long.
Just days prior to his plea hearing in July 1993, the North Iowa Area Community College dropout would pair with his then-girlfriend, Angela Johnson, to seek a way out of their guilty plea. Out on bond, the two went searching for Nicholson, and they found him.
In his home in Mason City, Nicholson was accompanied by his girlfriend, Lori Duncan, and her two young daughters.
Per kare11.com, this is what unfolded:
According to prosecutors, Johnson posed as a cosmetics saleswoman to get into the house. Honken forced Nicholson, 34, to record a statement declaring Honken innocent of the drug charges. Nicholson and the Duncans were then taken to a remote area, fatally shot and buried. Honken withdrew his guilty plea and gave his lawyer the videotape of Nicholson.
The investigation continued and the aforementioned group of four wouldn't be the only ones whose lives were taken by Dustin Honken.
The other dealer, DeGeus, was lured to a property by Johnson where Honken beat him with a baseball bat and shot him.
Investigators found the bodies of Nicholson and the Duncans in 2000 in a wooded area outside Mason City after Johnson was duped into giving a hand-drawn map showing where they were buried to a jailhouse informant. The adults had been bound and gagged and shot multiple times. The girls had each been shot once in the back of the head. DeGeus’ body was found a few miles away, his skull fractured.
The site then adds the following in reference to what charges eventually came from the murders:
Honken was convicted of the killings in 2004 in a trial that featured extraordinary security measures, including an anonymous jury. Honken was bolted to the floor of the courtroom and wore a stun belt under his clothing to prevent escape attempts.
The jury deemed his crimes were worth the death penalty, and beginning in 2005, the former drug kingpin was put on death row.
Johnson was convicted in a separate trial and sentenced to death. A judge later reduced her sentence to life in prison.
Honken was given a lethal injection in July of 2020 in Terre Haute, Indiana.
Pronounced dead at 4:36 p.m. on a Friday, per apnews.com, "the inmate spoke only briefly, neither addressing victims’ family members nor saying he was sorry. Honken, who was supposedly 'redeemed' and had 'repented of his crimes,' said these as his final words: “'Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for me.'”
6 Unsolved Mysteries in Rock + Metal
20 Rock and Metal Acts Who Are Always Ready for Halloween