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TV’s Dateline focuses on Whidbey murder

By JESSIE STENSLAND
Whidbey News-Times Co-editor
February 14, 2013 · 10:01 AM
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Peggy Sue Thomas will be sentenced Friday morning for her role in a 2003 murder on South Whidbey.

On Friday night, Thomas and her ex-boyfriend, convicted murderer James Huden, will be featured on a two-hour episode of Dateline reporting on the slaying of Russel Douglas. The NBC news magazine show begins at 8 p.m.

Familiar Whidbey Island faces will also appear on the show, including Detective Mark Plumberg with the Island County Sheriff’s Office and Prosecutor Greg Banks.

NBC describes the episode as “a love triangle involving a beauty queen, a devoted wife and a guitar hero leads to murder, and an investigation that stretches across the country and takes years to unfold.”

Thomas, 47, was scheduled to go to trial last month for first-degree murder. Instead, she pleaded guilty under a plea bargain to a lesser charge of rendering criminal assistance in the first degree. Under the definition of the crime, Thomas was admitting to helping Huden after the murder.

Thomas then went on TV news and proclaimed that she was innocent.

Thomas was originally accused of helping her  James Huden kill Douglas on a lonely road in rural Freeland two days after Christmas in 2003.

Investigators suspected she lured 32-year-old Douglas to the ambush with the promise of a gift, court documents said.

Huden was convicted of first-degree murder following a trial last summer and sentenced to 80 years in prison.

His motive for the crime and connection to Douglas remains unclear.

Thomas, his mistress, worked with Douglas’ wife, Brenna Douglas, at a Langley beauty salon.

Banks he will recommend that the Island County Superior Court judge hand Thomas a four-year sentence, which is the maximum under the standard sentencing range.

 


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