The first woman to receive a federal death sentence in decades will have the appeal of her murder case begin next month. Oral arguments are slated to begin on February 14th in the Eighth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis for Angela Johnson. Johnson and boyfriend Dustin Honken were convicted of planning and carrying out the drug- related slayings of three adults and two children from the Mason City area in 1993.
Both received death sentences, becoming the first Iowans to receive such a sentence in over 40 years. Johnson’s attorneys are challenging the denial of a change-of-venue request, the jury selection process, and the connection between drug trafficking and the murders. The appeals court will issue a written ruling in the case, with no time frame being set for a decision. Honken’s appeal is pending at this time.