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So the US Government put down a murderer Tuesday. A whole bunch of liberals are upset that justice was served. The man murdered an entire family, but, you should feel sorry for him for… reasons? If you’re smart (and I know you are because you’re reading on Ricochet) you don’t rely on the media to tell you why you should feel sorry for these guys. This isn’t Hollywood and these guys are not Old Yeller. They earned their right to receive what could be called the Anesthesiologist’s Overdose. How do I know? I did what the media will not do: I read the appellate opinions in these cases.
Daniel Lewis Lee was euthanized – a much nicer cleaner end than he deserved. He was a true white supremacist who killed an entire Arkansas family in pursuit of guns and money to finance a separate white supremacist state. He’s dead; I won’t waste time on him. I will focus, instead, on the next three who are slated to Dr. Kervorkian’s Special Tonic.
Here is how the Eighth Circuit described Dustin Lee Honken in the introduction to his appellate opinion:
In 1993, after being indicted on federal drug trafficking charges, Dustin Lee
Honken (Honken) and his girlfriend, Angela Johnson (Johnson), kidnaped and murdered a federal witness, the witness’s girlfriend, and the girlfriend’s two young daughters. Honken and Johnson murdered another potential federal witness three months later.
Gosh, doesn’t he sound like a prince among men? Honken, if you look at his profile on Murderpedia, appears to be a soft-spoken, almost baby-faced young man with a beguiling smile that makes it hard to imagine he is a killer. But Honken was good at chemistry and like the character in “Breaking Bad,” set up his own manufacturing and distribution network for methamphetamine in Iowa. The appellate opinion describes what led up to his arrest:
Honken and his best friend, Timothy Cutkomp (Cutkomp), began manufacturing methamphetamine in Arizona in 1992. Honken distributed his methamphetamine to only two dealers, Greg Nicholson (Nicholson) and Terry DeGeus (DeGeus). Both Nicholson and DeGeus were located in the Mason City, Iowa, area. Honken became acquainted with DeGeus’s then-girlfriend, Johnson, in 1993, and the two promptly began a romantic relationship. Johnson became pregnant with Honken’s child later that year.
In March 1993, law enforcement began investigating Nicholson. After officers searched Nicholson’s house, Nicholson decided to cooperate in the investigation. On March 21, 1993, officers arranged a recorded meeting between Nicholson and Honken at Nicholson’s home in Iowa, during which the two discussed methamphetamine and Nicholson paid Honken $3,000 for past deliveries. That same day, officers arrested Honken and Cutkomp.
Honken moved from Arizona to Mason City after his arrest. Honken was initially charged with state drug offenses. After Nicholson testified before a federal grand jury in April 1993, the grand jury indicted Honken for conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine, and the state charges were dismissed in favor of federal charges. Honken notified the court he intended to plead guilty, and a plea hearing was scheduled for July 30, 1993.
Honken was released on bond. During June and July 1993, Honken and Johnson searched for Nicholson, often asking Johnson’s friend, Christi Gaubatz (Gaubatz), to babysit Johnson’s daughter while they searched. On July 7, 1993, Johnson purchased a .9 mm handgun.
On the night of July 24, 1993, Honken and Johnson again asked Gaubatz to babysit Johnson’s daughter and borrowed Gaubatz’s car so they could search for Nicholson. Honken and Johnson normally returned about midnight, but on this occasion they did not come home until around five o’clock in the morning. On July 25, 1993, Nicholson, Duncan, Kandi, and Amber suddenly disappeared.
Five days later, on July 30, 1993, Honken appeared for his plea hearing, but declined to plead guilty. Honken told his attorney he heard a rumor Nicholson had skipped town. Honken also provided his attorney with a VHS tape of Nicholson saying Honken was not guilty of the charges against him.
Around August 2, 1993, the government learned Nicholson was missing after warrants were issued for Nicholson’s arrest and officers were unsuccessful in locating Nicholson. The government continued its drug investigation against Honken, now turning its attention to Honken’s only other dealer, DeGeus. Honken told Cutkomp he was worried about DeGeus testifying against him. Honken believed DeGeus had been subpoenaed to appear before the grand jury.
DeGeus disappeared on November 5, 1993. The night of his disappearance, DeGeus dropped his 10-year-old daughter off at his mother’s house and told his mother he was going to meet Johnson, his former girlfriend. DeGeus said he would return shortly to pick up his daughter that evening, but DeGeus never returned.
In the winter of 1993-1994, while cleaning a bedroom closet, Gaubatz discovered a large black handgun with attached silencer in a cosmetics bag belonging to Johnson. Gaubatz called Johnson to demand Johnson remove the gun. Johnson told Gaubatz not to worry about the gun because Honken would take care of it. That winter, Honken went to Cutkomp for assistance destroying a large black pistol.
Honken and Cutkomp used a torch to cut and melt the gun into a number of unrecognizable pieces, which they discarded in ditches along a country road.
Just the fact that Honken has five murders to his credit is a distinction not many in the criminal world ever achieve, but the fact that two of them were children elevates the level of evil here to satanic. I would note his partner in crime, Angela Johnson also received the death penalty, however, a federal judge later reversed and remanded for resentencing. The US Attorney wisely decided to leave her to rot in federal prison.
Because Honken and Johnson hid the bodies, authorities had no murder to prosecute, but had Johnson in custody on the drug charges when she befriended a fellow inmate. He convinced her that if she were to provide the details of the crime, he could get another prisoner, who was already serving life, to take responsibility for the murders. Clueless Johnson, who should have known better than to trust anyone who was already in jail, bit. She provided a hand-drawn map, which the inmate turned over to authorities. They discovered the bodies in a shallow grave. Even worse that the shallow grave is the manner of death. The opinion describes that too:
Using the maps Johnson drew, officers discovered the bodies of Nicholson and the Duncan family, buried in a single hole located in a wooded area outside Mason City. Kandi and Amber each had a single bullet hole in the back of their heads. Nicholson and Duncan were bound, gagged, and shot multiple times, including once in the head. DeGeus’s body was found in a field a few miles away, face down in a shallow hole. DeGeus had been shot one or more times, and his skull was severely fragmented, requiring significant reconstruction.
Imagine being so soulless that you shoot a child in the back of the head. What kind of monster does that? You can understand Honken being outraged at his co-conspirators turning on him, but not at the children. How does a person manufacture the rage necessary to take the life of a child?
Honken has denied his responsibility for the murders and his legal team pulled out all the stops in his defense. They tried to get the maps drawn by Johnson excluded arguing, among other things, that they were not trustworthy. That’s a pretty funny stretch because the maps led police right to the place where the bodies were buried. That seems pretty trustworthy to me.
The Eighth Circuit, which in criminal law matters is pretty much a “No BS” zone, dispatched the dozen points raised by Honken and affirmed the death penalty. While other motions have been filed because the manner of death by lethal injection is supposedly inhumane (like people suffer when they get a huge dose of pentobarbital and stop breathing), the death sentence has so far not been seriously challenged.
This is the man that liberals want to save. You might ask why it is that every time there is a criminal or illegal alien that doesn’t get everything he wants from the federal government, that liberals are the first to rush to his defense. Who rushes to the defense of the victims of Honken’s murders? Democrats do not seem to care about what you want or need. But they can’t wait to rush to the aid of someone who murders five people, two of whom are very young children. You can understand how religious leaders like those in the Catholic church might oppose the death penalty. I think their objection is principled. I believe the opening of prison doors in California and New York because of virus concerns is simply another way that liberals achieve the goals of forgiving violence and crime.
Then there’s the other prince among men, Keith Nelson. Keith Nelson was a Kansas resident who kidnapped a child in Kansas, took her to Missouri, raped, tortured and killed her, and pleaded guilty to the charge. He asked a jury to decide his fate, and the jury gave him the death penalty. It was a federal death penalty because he took a Kansas resident into Missouri for the purpose of having sex with a minor, and then killed her. Nelson richly deserved his sentence.
But perhaps the funniest case – from a poetic justice standpoint – is Wesley Ira Purkey. Purkey was another sick, multiple killer. He bludgeoned an 80-year-old woman to death with a claw hammer in Kansas. While he was awaiting trial on that, and hearing his fellow convicts talk about how bad Kansas prisons were, he decided he’d do his part to avoid the overly harsh prison life of the Sunflower state in favor of Club Fed. He told state detectives about how he had gone from Kansas into Missouri, kidnapped a high school sophomore, Pamela Long, and then taken her to Kansas to rape and kill her.
This was a mistake he would soon come to regret. The appellate opinion notes:
He then told the officers that he was going to plead guilty in the Kansas case and was therefore willing to confess to the kidnapping, rape, and murder of a Missouri woman, provided that he could serve his state time in a federal penitentiary. Detective Howard and Agent Tarpley informed Mr. Purkey that they could not make any promises but would take whatever he had to say to the United States Attorney. After giving an account of the kidnapping, rape, and murder of the victim (who was later identified as Ms. Long), Mr. Purkey refused to cooperate further unless he received assurances from the United States Attorney that his case would be federally prosecuted.
That afternoon, Detective Howard and Agent Tarpley met with Kurt Shernuk, an Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Kansas. Although he was skeptical of Mr. Purkey, Mr. Shernuk indicated that his office might be willing to prosecute the case if Mr. Purkey fully cooperated with the investigators and provided the location of the victim’s remains and other evidence to corroborate his confession.
After meeting with Mr. Shernuk, Detective Howard and Agent Tarpley returned to the Wyandotte County Jail to speak with Mr. Purkey. They told him that Mr. Shernuk wanted a body and would require full cooperation, but they did not make Mr. Purkey any promises as to the sentence that he might receive. Mr. Purkey then led Messrs. Tarpley and Howard to the crime scene and to the place where he claimed to have discarded the victim’s undergarments and jaw bone. He told the officers that because he had taken extraordinary measures to dispose of the body, including dismembering it with a chain saw and burning the remains, the victim’s remains were not recoverable.
Yes, you read that right. The animal tortured, raped, and killed a high school sophomore, then cut her body up with a chainsaw and burned the remains so that her family could not even give her a decent burial.
Purkey got his wish about federal treatment. He was tried in federal court. But the extreme nature of his crime meant the US Attorney could seek the death penalty. Oops! Purkey changed course:
During the guilt phase of his federal trial, Mr. Purkey affirmed his statements about the killing and dismemberment of Ms. Long, but he disavowed his previous statements that he forced Ms. Long to travel with him from Missouri to his home in Kansas. Instead, he stated that Ms. Long, who he said he thought was a prostitute, voluntarily entered his truck and accompanied him to his home. He indicated that he fabricated the kidnapping aspect of the confession to ensure that his actions would be considered, and therefore prosecuted as, a federal crime. After deliberating briefly, the jury returned a verdict of guilty.
Kansas is a very difficult place to get the death penalty owing to a long history of Democratic leadership at the state level. No one has been executed there since 1965. This moron traded a pretty secure life sentence for a one-way trip to Terre Haute’s federal death chamber. That was smart!
The point of all of this should be clear. If you are on death row at Club Fed, you earned your place there. There isn’t any question of your guilt. There is no question about what the jury decided or the fairness of your trial. Each of these sociopathic monsters deserves the fate that awaits him.
Shed a tear for the victims, sure. But do not shed any for these agents of evil.Published in