NEWS

Prosecutors give up pursuit of death penalty for Angela Johnson

She was convicted of five counts of aiding and abetting murder in one of the most horrific crime sprees in Iowa

FILE - In this Nov. 16, 2005, file photo Angela Johnson is lead to a hearing at the Federal Courthouse in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Johnson was convicted in 2005 in the drug-related slayings of three adults and two children in 1993  near Mason City. A federal judge, citing errors by her attorney’s, tossed out her death sentences cut upheld her convictions on Thursday, March 22, 2012. (The Gazette, Jim Slosiarek, File)
FILE - In this Nov. 16, 2005, file photo Angela Johnson is lead to a hearing at the Federal Courthouse in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Johnson was convicted in 2005 in the drug-related slayings of three adults and two children in 1993 near Mason City. A federal judge, citing errors by her attorney’s, tossed out her death sentences cut upheld her convictions on Thursday, March 22, 2012. (The Gazette, Jim Slosiarek, File)

Federal prosecutors will not seek the death penalty against the woman who helped Dustin Honken kill five people in 1993, according to a court document filed Wednesday in federal court.

Angela Johnson will likely be sentenced to life in prison without parole after Wednesday’s filing. She was convicted of five counts of aiding and abetting murder in one of the most horrific crime sprees in Iowa. Prosecutors didn’t explain the decision to withdraw the death penalty in the court document.

Honken, who was known as a methamphetamine kingpin, and Johnson killed three adults and two children in an attempt to prevent a federal investigation into his sophisticated, multistate drug business.

The victims were two former dealers for Honken who turned informants, one of their girlfriends, and her two children, ages 6 and 10, who were home when Honken and Johnson came to find the dealers, according to trial testimony.

Johnson was sentenced to death following her trial in 2005 but a federal judge tossed out the sentence and ordered her to be resentenced after finding flaws in her defense team. She would have been the first woman sentenced by a federal court since the 1950s.