The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that information turned over by a jailhouse informant can be used in the case against a woman accused of helping in the 1993 drug-related slayings of five north-central Iowans. The court ruled that U.S. District Court Judge Mark Bennett was in error when he suppressed evidence in the case against 38-year-old Angela Johnson of Klemme, who along with 35-year-old Dustin Honken are accused of killing 32-year-old Terry DeGeus (de-goose) of Britt, 34-year-old Gregory Nicholson of Mason City, Nicholson’s girlfriend 31-year-old Lori Duncan of Mason City and her two daughters. Their bodies were not found until a jailhouse informant allegedly was told by Johnson in 2000 where to find the bodies. Bennett had ruled authorities violated Johnson’s constitutional right to an attorney or defense when they used notes and recorded conversations from an informant in a cell next to Johnson’s at the Benton County Jail…but the appeals court ruled that the informant was not a government agent, so the evidence should stand. Johnson’s trial is now scheduled to start in about four months, with Honken’s trial slated for March 2004.
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