Dustin Honken was executed by the federal government on the afternoon of Friday, July 17, the third such killing in a long and bloodthirsty week. As his last words, he recited the following poem first published in 1864 by Gerard Manley Hopkins, SJ., who was an English poet and a Jesuit priest.
Heaven-Haven I have desired to go Where springs not fail, To fields where flies no sharp and sided hail And a few lilies blow. And I have asked to be Where no storms come, Where the green swell is in the havens dumb, And out of the swing of the sea.
He followed the recitation with a single Hail Mary, and then was silent.
After officials confirmed Honken's death, his attorney Shawn Nolan released the following statement:
Dustin Honken was redeemed. He recognized and repented for the crimes he had committed, and spent his time in prison atoning for them. With Father Mark, Sister Betty, Cardinal Tobin and other religious mentors, Dustin worked every day at the Catholic faith that was at the center of his life. During his time in prison, he cared for everyone he came into contact with: guards, counselors, medical staff, his fellow inmates and his legal team. Over the years he grew incredibly close to his family, becoming a true father, son, brother and friend. There was no reason for the government to kill him, in haste or at all. In any case, they failed. The Dustin Honken they wanted to kill is long gone. The man they killed today was a human being, who could have spent the rest of his days helping others and further redeeming himself. May he rest in peace.