Peggy Sue got released: TV show recounts sensational Whidbey Island murder

Just as one of the parties in a highly publicized murder case was released from prison, yet another TV crime series recounted the sordid story of a 2003 murder on Whidbey Island.

Peggy Sue Thomas at trial.

Just as one of the parties in a highly publicized murder case was released from prison, yet another TV crime series recounted the sordid story of a 2003 murder on Whidbey Island.

The Oxygen network’s series “Snapped: Killer Couples” ran an episode on Peggy Thomas and Jim Huden last week. The episode will play again Sept. 2.

“Peggy Thomas is best remembered as the drop-dead gorgeous beauty queen who spent time in prison for her part in the murder of her best friend’s husband, Russel Douglas, along with her former lover, Jim Huden,” according to a promotional article about the episode.

The case was the subject of NBC’s Dateline and several other crime documentary series, as well as the book “Practice to Deceive” by the late true-crime writer Ann Rule.

Ironically, Rule devoted a chapter of her book to criticizing a former South Whidbey Record editor for in-depth coverage of the murder case.

Thomas was released from prison this month, according to the state’s inmate roster.

The show focuses on the relationship between Peggy Sue Thomas, former Ms. Washington, and James Huden, a musician in a band.

After years on the run, Huden was convicted in 2012 of murdering 32-year-old Russel Douglas, a father of two.

Thomas was accused of luring Douglas to a secluded area in Freeland the day after Christmas with the promise of a gift; Thomas denied this account.

Huden shot Douglas between the eyes as he sat in his vehicle.

Huden fled to Mexico but was finally caught and prosecuted nine years later. A jury in Island County Superior Court convicted Huden of first-degree murder. The judge handed him an exceptional sentence of 80 years in prison.

The motive for the murder was never absolutely clear. The prosecutor’s sentencing memorandum asserts that Huden believed Douglas was abusive to his children and that “murdering Douglas would serve as a proxy killing of Huden’s own abusive father.”

Huden did not know Douglas; Thomas provided the only link between Huden and Douglas. She worked as a hairdresser in Langley for Douglas’ estranged wife, Brenna Douglas.

The prosecutor offered Huden a plea bargain if he would explain Thomas’ alleged role in the murder, but he never said anything against her.

Thomas pleaded guilty to rendering criminal assistance under a plea bargain and was sentenced to four years in prison. Under the agreement, she admitted to helping Huden after the murder.

At the sentencing hearing, however, Thomas’ defense attorney argued that she was innocent and pointed a finger at Brenna Douglas, suggesting that she may have been involved along with Huden.

 

More in News

Sewage plant recognized as project of the year

Oak Harbor’s new clean water facility was recently honored as one of… Continue reading

Workshop looks at rising sea level

Whidbey Island dwellers may have a interest in the effects rising sea… Continue reading

Man held on $100,000 bail for child porn

An Oak Harbor man admitted to having “multiple gigabytes” of child pornography… Continue reading

Pumpkin pickers needed

Liz Sherman picks sugar pie pumpkins at Sherman’s Pioneer Farm in Coupeville.… Continue reading

Leaders work on plan to end homelessness

Whidbey leaders and residents have been discussing the issue of homelessness for… Continue reading

Agreement reached between hospital, island fire districts

After months of negotiating, North and Central Whidbey fire districts have reached… Continue reading

Getting clean: Family reunites, offers hope for others battling addiction

Daniel and Adriana Aivles were addicted to heroin and living out of… Continue reading

Dog owners still breaking leash laws at Greenbank Farm

To address ongoing issues with dogs straying into farmland at the Greenbank… Continue reading

Island County cuts off its funding for Spin Cafe

An Oak Harbor day shelter for homeless people is hoping to repair… Continue reading

Most Read