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Murderer Angela Johnson’s death sentence vacated



This news story was published on March 23, 2012.
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SIOUX CITY – A woman formerly of Klemme, Iowa who helped a North Iowa drug dealer murder 5 people in 1993 had her death sentence vacated this week.

Angela Johnson, former girlfriend of convicted murderer and drug dealer Dustin Honken, had her death sentence vacated on Thursday, March 22nd by U.S. Distrcit Judge Mark Bennett.

Bennett filed a 448-page ruling Thursday where he outlined a series of mistakes Johnson’s lawyers made as she was about to be sentenced.  Those mistakes may have influenced the jury, Bennett found.  Read the ruling here.

The U.S. Attorney’s office in Cedar Rapids has 60 days to decide whether to appeal Bennett’s ruling.  Public Information Officer Peter Deegan had no comment when reached by NIT on Friday.

John’s case revolves around five murders.

According to court documents, in  July of 1993, Johnson’s boyfriend, Dustin Honken, with Johnson’s help, abducted and killed Greg Nicholson, Lori Duncan (Nicholson’s girlfriend), and Duncan’s two young daughters, Amber and Kandi.

Nicholson, who had sold drugs for Honken, was the central witness in a drug case against Honken. The Duncans had the misfortune of being present when Honken and Johnson arrived at their home to deal with Nicholson. Months later, Honken, again with Johnson’s assistance, murdered a second potential witness against Honken, Johnson’s former boyfriend, Terry DeGeus.

In 1992, Honken started manufacturing methamphetamine with his friend Tim Cutkomp in Arizona. Honken’s brother, Jeff Honken, financed the operation. Honken distributed the methamphetamine to Greg Nicholson and Terry DeGeus, who were both drug dealers in Mason City, Iowa. In early 1993, during one of Honken’s trips to Mason City, DeGeus sent Johnson, who was his girlfriend at the time, to deliver either drug proceeds or methamphetamine to Honken. Johnson told Honken that because DeGeus was using too much of the methamphetamine for his own personal use, Honken should deal directly with Johnson instead. Johnson and Honken began a romantic relationship and within six months, Johnson became pregnant withHonken’s child. In late February or early March of 1993, Cutkomp moved to Iowa,but continued participating in Honken’s drug enterprise.

In March 1993, police began investigating Nicholson and executed a search warrant for his residence, which led to the discovery of a large amount of methamphetamine and money. Nicholson agreed to cooperate with law enforcement and told agents that Honken had supplied him with several pounds of methamphetamine over a period of 10-11 months, for which he paid Honken a total of approximately $100,000. On March 21, 1993, Nicholson met with Honken to deliver drug proceeds. During their conversation, which was monitored by police, they discussed past and future deliveries of methamphetamine. That day, police arrested Honken and Cutkomp. In Honken’s pocket, officers found a note listing money owed to Honken by two individuals referred to as “G-man” and “T-man.” A receipt for the purchase of chemicals was found in Cutkomp’s pocket.  After Honken was arrested, Jeff Honken disposed of items from Honken’s drug lab that Honken had kept in one of Jeff Honken’s storage sheds.

In April 1993, a federal grand jury indicted Honken for conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine. Honken was released on bond. Honken informed the court that he intended to plead guilty, and a plea hearing was scheduled for July 30, 1993.

During June and July of 1993, Honken and Johnson began searching for Nicholson. On the evenings they looked for Nicholson, Johnson would ask her friend, Christi Gaubatz, to babysit Johnson’s daughter. Honken and Johnson borrowed Gaubatz’s car on these occasions so that they would not be spotted by Nicholson. On July 7, 1993, Johnson purchased a semi-automatic 9 mm assault pistol at a pawn shop about an hour’s drive from her home.  The last time Johnson asked Gaubatz to babysit so that she and Honken could look for Nicholson was July 24, 1993. That evening, Nicholson, Nicholson’s girlfriend, Lori Duncan, and Lori Duncan’s two children, Kandi and Amber, were murdered.

Johnson later recounted the details of the murders to various witnesses.

The following recitation is drawn from these accounts. Johnson knocked on the door of the Duncans’ home and asked if she could look at their telephone book. Johnson was carrying a cosmetics demonstration bag and claimed that she had an appointment to give a demonstration, but was uncertain of the address. She secured entry into the house, with Honken apparently right behind her. There was testimony that once the door was opened, Honken and Johnson “rushed” the occupants. While Johnson and Honken were in the house, one or both of them videotaped Nicholson making statements exculpating Honken. At some point, Johnson went upstairs with Kandi and Amber and had them pack up some of their things – either to persuade the girls that they were going on a trip or to convince any subsequent visitors to the house that they had done so. Honken and Johnson bound and gagged the adults with materials that either Honken or Johnson had brought to the house and drove the victims to a wooded area. Honken took the two adults out of the car and shot them in the head while Johnson waited in the car with the children. The children were then taken out of the car and shot as well. All four were placed in a single grave that had been dug earlier.

Their bodies were eventually discovered years later.  Lori Duncan and her two daughters, Kandi and Amber, are buried in Elmwood Cemetery in Mason City on Trinity Hill.

At this time, Johnson remains in a Texas prison.

 

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7 Responses to Murderer Angela Johnson’s death sentence vacated

  1. Jackie Rupert Reply Report comment

    November 12, 2013 at 11:47 pm

    YOU MUST BE A RELATIVE. As she did not care if her victums were her the same age as her daughters!! They were innocent kids. Does anything else matter? Douche, Former Iowegian? This really makes me sick- someone trying to justify 2 little innocent girls from a brutal murder.

  2. Former Iowegian Reply Report comment

    April 16, 2012 at 8:07 pm

    Can’t believe anyone would would put any stock on the story of a pothead that was having an affair with Honken. Gaubatz story was so full of holes and lies, if Johnson had had a proper defense team, she would have been charged with the things she was guilty of, selling drugs, like so many others in the area. Her defense took the money then put her on the back burner. How many defense teams do you know that rest their case 1 minute after the prosecution does without providing a defense at all? Is that justice?

    • common sense Reply Report comment

      April 16, 2012 at 8:49 pm

      Johnson is the one that made a map to show where the bodies were buried! She could of had the best lawyer in the world and not got off. The bitch is guilty!

    • Jackie Rupert Reply Report comment

      November 12, 2013 at 11:51 pm

      No, We CANNOT!!!

  3. DeAnne Reply Report comment

    March 23, 2012 at 8:25 pm

    This story makes me sick to my stomach!!! Let that b*tch suffer the consequences of her actions! She has a child of her own… I wonder how she would feel if what she did to these two little girls, happened to her own kid? Hmmm. Put her to sleep like the DOG that she is!!! Enough said.

  4. Why don't you give the attorneys' names? Reply Report comment

    March 23, 2012 at 8:02 pm

    Why don’t you give the defense attorneys’ names? Do you have some sort of agreement with Dean Stowers? “Bennett filed a 448-page ruling Thursday where he outlined a series of mistakes Johnson’s lawyers made . . .” The lawyers screwed up, so shouldn’t they also face the public consequences?

    The Kansas City Star gave the names of her screw-up lawyers. In fact, they even quote Dean Stowers as saying, “I’m happy she’s going to get a new shot at things because she deserves it.” He probably screwed up on purpose, so she could use it as an excuse to get out of the death penalty.

    If you commit a crime in Iowa, and if you hire Dean Stowers, you will probably end up with the death penalty even though there is no death penalty under Iowa law.

  5. Mandy Reply Report comment

    March 23, 2012 at 7:58 pm

    Fry this trash.