Man Who Killed Family of Four, Including Children, Is Executed in Federal Prison

July 17, 2020 Updated: July 17, 2020

Dustin Lee Honken, who was convicted for the killing of five people, including a family of four that included two young children, was executed on Friday afternoon.

Honken, described as a meth kingpin, was killed via a lethal dose of pentobarbital, a powerful sedative that is commonly used in executions, in a federal prison in Indiana. His death was pronounced at 4:36 p.m. ET without incident, said the Bureau of Prisons in a statement to a WTHI reporter who observed the execution.

His final words were a prayer, “Mary Mother of God, pray for me,” according to the reporter.

A federal judge declined to issue an injunction in Honken’s execution. Lawyers for the inmate had requested that U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan issue a stay for the lethal injection.

“Honken has not demonstrated a likelihood of success on his claim that the 2019 Protocol is arbitrary and capricious based on its failure to consider the risk of flash pulmonary edema,” the court of appeals wrote in declining their appeal, according to the Des Moines Register.

Honken, 52, received the death penalty for the murders of two drug dealers who later became government informants, a girlfriend of one of those dealers, and her two children. Honken has maintained he is innocent over the years.

Prosecutors said he killed informants Greg Nicholson, and Terry DeGues, as well as Nicholson’s 32-year-old girlfriend Lori Duncan and her two daughters, 10-year-old Kandi, and 6-year-old Amber.

A spokesperson with the Sisters of Providence said she was surprised at how calm Honken sounded over the phone in recent days, adding that his mother, brother, and daughter visited him.

“He was at peace. I was totally amazed,” she said, as reported by The Associated Press. “He believed he would go to heaven. He is ready to meet his maker.”

It came after the Supreme Court cleared the Trump administration to carry out the first federal executions in the criminal justice system in nearly 20 years. Earlier in June, Attorney General William Barr ordered the Bureau of Prisons to implement the plan again.

He is one of several inmates on federal death row in the federal penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana, who have said the new one-drug protocol, which replaces a three-drug protocol the government last used in 2003, would cause an unnecessarily painful death.

Two other men convicted of murdering children were executed in Terre Haute earlier this week: Daniel Lee on Tuesday, and Wesley Purkey on Thursday.

While the Supreme Court’s conservative majority wrote that it had established that lethal injection was a constitutional method, some of the liberal justices complained that new problems raised by the changed protocol were being dismissed too hastily.

“I remain convinced of the importance of reconsidering the constitutionality of the death penalty itself,” Justice Stephen Breyer wrote in a dissenting opinion on Thursday.

Reuters contributed to this report.