The Terre Haute prison.

A north-central Iowa drug kingpin’s requests to delay his execution scheduled for later this week have been denied.

Dustin Honken’s motions to delay his execution were denied on Tuesday by U.S. District Judge Leonard Strand. Strand wrote on Tuesday he would not intervene due to the COVID-19 pandemic, saying the Federal Bureau of Prisons was in the best position to weigh the health risks against the benefits of carrying out the execution.

Strand also turned down Honken’s request to void his execution due to an alleged procedural error by the government, saying that the executive branch had the power to set dates for executions. The 52-year-old Honken was sentenced to death for the 1993 murders of five people from the Mason City area. Prosecutors say Honken killed them in an attempt to stop an investigation into his dealing methamphetamine.

His death by lethal injection at the federal prison in Terre Haute Indiana is scheduled for Friday.  An Indiana federal judge also on Tuesday denied a request by a Catholic priest serving as Honken’s spiritual adviser who asked to delay the execution until after the COVID-19 pandemic.

(By Bob Fisher, KRIB, Mason City/Photo from Federal Bureau of Prisons website.)