A federal judge that’s scheduled to preside over the trial of a man accused of the drug-related killings of five north-central Iowans admits he’s socialized with defense lawyers, but apparently will stay on the case. According to a copyright story in the Des Moines Register, U.S. District Judge Mark Bennett acknowledges that he spent three weekends in the past four years with attorneys Alfredo Parrish and Leon Spies at a condo owned by Parrish’s brother-in-law. The lawyers are defending drug kingpin Dustin Honken, who is accused in the 1993 slayings of three adults and two children in an attempt to disrupt a drug probe. Bennett admits taking the trips to the Lake Okoboji condo, adding that he took with him several hundred dollars’ worth of wine, bread and desserts baked by his wife, a former Better Homes and Gardens magazine editor, to balance out the cost of the stay. Bennett will continue with the case, with Honken giving up his right to ask for a new judge as part of a hearing looking at Bennett’s relationship with the defending attorneys. Honken’s case is Iowa’s first death-penalty case in 41 years.
You are here: / / Judge will stay on murder trial despite questions