The Terre Haute prison.

A north-central Iowa drug kingpin today became the first Iowan in more than five decades to be executed.

Fifty-two-year-old Dustin Honken of Britt was executed at the federal prison in Terre Haute Indiana. The Bureau of Prisons says Honken died at 3:36 Iowa Time after a lethal injection.

His last words were, “Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for me.” Honken of Britt was convicted in 2004 of murder while engaged in drug trafficking, witness tampering, and soliciting the murder of a witness in connection with the 1993 murders of 34-year-old Greg Nicholson, 32-year-old Terry DeGeus, 31-year-old Lori Duncan and Duncan’s two children, 10-year-old Kandace and six-year-old Amber.

Their five bodies were found buried in a field southwest of Mason City in the fall of 2000. Honken’s lawyer Shawn Nolan says his client was redeemed and had repented for his crimes, adding there was no reason to kill him, in haste, or at all.

The families of Duncan and DeGeus issued written statements after the execution. Duncan’s family said Kandace and Amber never had a chance to grow up and share in the joys and sorrows of life. They say the execution brings a sense of closure but they will continue to live with their loss, but this is a step toward the healing of broken hearts and shattered lives.

(By Bob Fisher, KGLO, Mason City)