Two north-central Iowans who were sentenced to death last year for the drug-related slayings of three adults and two children have filed their first appeals. Dustin Honken and Angela Johnson were each convicted of planning and carrying out the slayings of the five near Mason City in 1993. Among the murdered were two federal drug informants who once peddled methamphetamine produced by Honken. Honken and Johnson received death sentences last year, becoming the first Iowans to receive death penalties in more than 40 years.
Besides filing his appeal in the Eighth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Honken was appointed three new attorneys to handle the case. Johnson’s notice of appeal was received by the court last week. Federal prosecutors say the length of the appeals process on death penalty cases averages around seven years.