Reports confirm that Peggy Sue Thomas, an ex-beauty queen and former Ms. Washington, was sentenced to four years in prison on Friday (Feb. 15) for the 2003 murder of Russel Douglas. Although she originally faced decades behind bars after being charged with first-degree murder, Thomas later pleaded guilty to rendering criminal assistance in the death of Douglas. Her jail sentence was to begin immediately.
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According to KOMO News, Thomas allegedly conspired with her boyfriend James Huden to murder 32-year-old Douglas after leading him to a location on Whidbey Island - the victim was found shot to death inside a car just a few days after Christmas in 2003. Thomas was eventually arrested and charged with murder in 2011. Thomas pleaded guilty before a full trial could commence - she admitted to helping Huden after the murder was committed.
Reports confirm that Thomas' shortened four-year sentence was part of a plea deal. As the Inquisitr puts it, Island County prosecutors determined that trying the the former beauty queen for Douglas' murder would ultimately prove too risky. Judge Alan Hancock handed down Thomas the recommended 4-year sentence - the maximum he could impose.
Huden, Thomas' boyfriend at the time, was charged with Douglas' murder last summer. He is currently serving an 80 year prison sentence.
Upon her sentencing, Superior Court Judge Hancock urged Thomas to explain the motive behind Douglas' murder. She still has yet to reveal such information behind the brutal shooting:
"Peggy Thomas has it within her power to alleviate the suffering of the family and friends of Russel Douglas, at least to some extent, by telling everything she knows about this terrible crime and what led up to it," I call on her to give a full account of what she knows," Hancock said. "Without this information there will always be a cloud over this. If Ms. Thomas does not tell everything she knows, it is only fair she be tormented the rest of her life by what she knows."
According to Hancock, Thomas was the only connection between Douglas and Huden.
According to the victim's father Jim Douglas, Thomas' four year sentence does not fit the crime:
“It seems like a travesty of the basic sense of justice that she would be sentenced to less than four years in prison for the cold and premeditated act that could not have happened without her involvement.”
Thomas (35-years-old at the time) participated as Ms. Washington in 2000's Ms. U.S. Continental Pageant hosted in Las Vegas - a pageant dedicated to single, divorced, and married women between ages 25-55. Although she didn't win the big money prize, she did walk away with the evening gown competition win. During a Q&A segment of the pageant, Thomas (a single mother of two) stated that the greatest ethical challenge facing women today was, "Raising children with morals, even with all the violence, sex, and drugs in the media."