An eastern Iowa woman serving life in prison for conspiring to murder three adults and two children in the early nineties says her accomplice likely knows who abducted popular Mason City morning television anchor Jodi Huisentruit in 1995.
Angela Johnson was the first woman sentenced to death by a federal jury in more than fifty years back in 2005. Johnson spoke with cold case investigative journalist Steve Ridge from the federal correctional institution in Waseca, Minnesota. Ridge says Johnson corresponded with him both by e-mail and telephone, eventually calling him three times.
In those conversations, Ridge says that Johnson told him that her accomplice, drug kingpin Dustin Honken, who is scheduled to be executed in four months, spoke with her about the Huisentruit’s abduction. Ridge says Johnson mentioned one specific potential suspect. Ridge says Johnson said she had never discussed the abduction with anyone but Honken, and that she would deny having told Ridge about that conversation. However, Ridge says he was able to capture the conversation.
Honken’s execution had been on hold until new federal guidelines singled him out as one of only five convicts now set to be executed. Honken is considered the mastermind behind the cold-blooded execution style murder of his former drug lieutenants, Terri DeGeus, Greg Nicholson, Nicholson’s girl friend, Lori Duncan and her two children, six year old Amber and ten year old Kandace.
Ridge says that he also managed to contact Honken, and that an investigator from the federal public defenders office in Philadelphia who represents Honken recently traveled to Iowa to meet with him. Ridge believes Honken’s attorneys might petition to have his execution delayed in exchange for him being forthcoming about the Huisentruit disappearance.
In his original drug trial, the charges against Honken were dropped after the two key witnesses, DeGeus and Nicholson suddenly disappeared. Honken was released from prison a matter of days before a good friend of Huisentruit, Billy Pruin, was killed, according to Ridge. Ridge says Pruin’s former fiancé told him that Pruin became very worried about something the day Honken was released. Two weeks later Pruin was dead. Twelve weeks later, Jodi Huisentruit disappeared without a trace.
However, there is no known direct link between Honken and the Huisentruit case.
Ridge speculated that Honken attorneys might seek a delay in the execution in the interest of solving other murders. Although Honken’s post-conviction remedies have been exhausted, Ridge says a petition citing extraordinary circumstances might be possible. Ridge observes that the day Honken is executed, “his secrets die with him”.
Ridge says that he has already shared this information with authorities. Ridge is Chief Operating Officer of media strategy firm Magid. His company coached Huisentruit throughout her brief career.