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Mass Murderer Dustin Lee Honken To Be Executed Friday

Federal Executions
Michael Conroy
AP Photo
The guard tower flanks the sign at the entrance to the U.S. Penitentiary in Terre Haute, Ind. The Justice Department plans to resume federal executions next week for the first time in more than 15 years, despite the coronavirus pandemic raging both inside and outside prisons and stagnating national support for the death penalty. Dustin Lee Honken is slated to die by lethal injection on July 17, 2020.

On this episode, we look at the crimes and murders committed by Dustin Lee Honken.

It has been over 17 years since the last federal execution in the United States. This all changes this week, with three federal executions; one of whom is of Iowa native Dustin Lee Honken.

On today's episode of River to River, host Ben Kieffer discusses the upcoming execution of Iowa native and mass murderer Dustin Lee Honken.

In 1993, Honken was running a large-scale meth production operation. In an effort to protect his business, Honken executed the murders of five people — two of whom were children. It was 11 years before Honken was convicted of their murders by a jury and 12 years before Honken received a federal death sentence. However, the U.S. federal government stopped federal executions in 2003, just recently re-instating them in July 2019. Read more about the case in Courtney Crowder's piece in the Des Moines Register.


  • Courtney Crowder, columnist, The Des Moines Register
  • Andrea Lyon, criminal defense lawyer
  • Thomas Zinkula, Bishop, Dioceses of Davenport
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Ben Kieffer is the host of IPR's River to River
Matthew was a producer for IPR's River to River and Talk of Iowa