Ex-beauty queen sentenced for role in Whidbey Island murder

Ex-beauty queen sentenced for role in Whidbey Island murder
Peggy Sue Thomas appears at her sentencing on Friday, Feb. 15.
COUPEVILLE, Wash. - A former Ms. Washington pageant winner was sentenced Friday in Coupeville to four years in prison for her role in a Whidbey Island murder.

Peggy Sue Thomas, 47, pleaded guilty in January to rendering criminal assistance. Island County prosecutors originally had charged her with first-degree murder.

Thomas was accused of plotting with her boyfriend, James Huden, to kill a man named Russ Douglas, who was found shot to death in a car on Whidbey Island two days after Christmas in 2003. Prosecutors say she lured Douglas to the spot where he was killed.

After the killing, Thomas went to live on a houseboat on Navajo Lake near Farmington, N.M. She was arrested there in 2011 and charged with murder.

The victim's father, Jim Douglas, said at Friday's hearing that he believed Thomas' sentence was not long enough to fit the crime.

"It seems like a travesty of the basic sense of justice that she would be sentecned to less than four years in prison for the cold and premeditated act that could not have happened without her involvement," said Douglas.

Gail O'Neal, the mother of victim, urged Thomas to tell the family what happened on the night of her son's murder.

"You and Jim Huden are going to be sitting in prison cells reflecting on all of this. And I hope that if you ever get the guts to tell, that you can call me and tell me exactly what happened, because we are mothers," O'Neal said.

The judge also gave Thomas an opportunity to come clean about the murder. But she refused.

Huden was convicted last summer of murder and sentenced to 80 years in prison.

Thomas, a former hairdresser, had once worked at a salon owned by Douglas' wife. She won the Ms. Washington beauty pageant in 2000.