WASHINGTON DC – The execution of an Iowa man who was scheduled to be put to death by the federal government next year has been postponed.
Wednesday night, a U.S. District judge granted a preliminary injunction on the executions of five men, including Dustin Honken.
Honken was a northern Iowa drug dealer facing federal charges for manufacturing and distributing methamphetamine in 1993 when he shot and killed five people. Gregory Nicholson had planned to testify against Honken in his trial. Nicholson, his girlfriend Lori Duncan, and her two children Amber and Kandi were shot to death execution-style in July of 1993.
Honken was convicted of the murders in 2004 and given the death penalty. He appealed but a district judge upheld the ruling in 2013. All of his appeals have been exhausted.
Back in July, Attorney General William Barr ordered federal executions to resume for the first time in five years and Honken’s execution was scheduled for January 15, 2020.
Honken was one of four men scheduled to die by execution to file a claim against the execution, stating it would be unlawful.
Judge Tanya Chutkin issued the injunction stating that the men would be executed before their claims could be fully litigated. Chutkin also states that the method of execution would be unlawful.
The Justice Department has not yet responded.