Peggy Sue Thomas, the ex-wife of a millionaire, pleaded guilty to rendering criminal assistance and will serve four years in prison for the murder of Russel Douglas, ABC News reported on Feb. 16.
The former Ms. Washington accepted the plea deal in January, one week before she was to stand trial for the 2003 murder of Russel Douglas. The ex-beauty queen’s sentence disappointed the Douglas family. Russel Douglas was found shot to death in his car in 2003.
Superior Court Judge Hancock gave Thomas the opportunity on Friday to “come clean” about the murder, saying, “Peggy Thomas has it within her power to alleviate the suffering of the family and friends of Russel Douglas, at least to some extent.” Judge Hancock asked Thomas to give a full account of what she knows, but the former Ms. Washington declined to comment on the motive for the murder.
Jim Douglas, the victim’s father spoke in court on Friday, saying:
“It seems a travesty of the basic sense of justice that she [Peggy Thomas] would be sentenced to less than four years in prison for the cold and premeditated act that could not have happened without her involvement.”
Prosecutors allege that Peggy Thomas and then-boyfriend James Huden lured Russel Douglas into a remote area in order for Huden to shoot him. Douglas was found dead in Freeland, Whidbey Island just two days after Christmas 2003.
Prosecutors speculate that Huden and Thomas, who had worked for Douglas’ wife in her beauty salon, suspected that Russel was abusing his wife and children, making revenge the motive for the murder. Superior Court Judge Hancock said, “Without this information [about the motive], there will always be a cloud over this. If Ms. Thomas does not tell everything she knows, it’s only fair that she be tormented for the rest of her life by what she knows.”
At his trial in 2012 James Huden would not reveal why he and Peggy Sue Thomas targeted Russel Douglas. Huden also refused a deal to testify against his former girlfriend. James Huden was found guilty of first degree murder and sentenced to 80 years in prison.
Peggy Thomas attempted to address her tarnished image when she accepted the plea deal in January, saying, “I am not the woman that’s been portrayed in the papers over the last few years. I would want to tell Russel Douglas and his family that I am so sorry for their loss.”
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