Russel Douglas Found Murdered on Whidbey Island in Washington; Navy Veteran Peggy Thomas & Lover Jim Huden Convicted For Their Roles in the Homicide (December 26, 2003)

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Russel Douglas, Whidbey Island, Washington (2003)

Russel Douglas was found murdered in his car in a remote location on Whidbey Island in Washington on December 26, 2003. Russel was shot execution style in the head and there were few clues at the scene but the police knew it was a murder because they couldn’t find the gun. It took the police a few years but eventually they got a phone call from someone who said they had information about a murder. Investigators learned that a man by the name of Jim Huden admitted that he wanted to kill someone and did in fact kill someone. Through the course of the investigation, they also learned that Jim, who was married, had been having an affair with Peggy Thomas, a Navy veteran and former beauty queen in Washington. Peggy was the connection to Russel Douglas because she once worked with his wife Brenna at a hair salon and Russel’s wife was renting a home from her on Whidbey Island. When Jim Huden and Peggy Thomas were interviewed by the police, they didn’t admit to anything and would not cooperate. Therefore, detectives didn’t have enough evidence to arrest them.

After being questioned by police, Jim Huden started drinking more and fled to Mexico; Peggy Thomas got married and divorced; and the police continued investigating Russel Douglas’ murder. And then the unexpected happened. Jim’s estranged wife was arrested for drugs and check fraud. Detectives offered her a deal and promised if she gave them information about the Russel Douglas’ murder and where Jim was located, they would drop the charges against her; she gave them the information. Investigators began developing a theory based on the witnesses they had interviewed and the evidence they gathered. They believed the end game was money for Peggy and she was the one that put things in motion. Russel and his wife were having marital problems and investigators believe that Peggy offered to help Brenna murder her husband in return for some of the life insurance pay out. They theorized that Peggy convinced Jim that Russel was abusive so he would want to kill him. Jim was abused as a child so he was easily manipulated to believe that Russel deserved to die. In the end, both Peggy and Jim conspired to murder Russel Douglas for different motives.

Jim Huden wanted revenge for his childhood abuses and Peggy Thomas wanted cash. Investigators suspected the duo committed the murder for Brenna who claimed Russel abused her but there was no past history of domestic violence or child abuse on record; Jim didn’t know that and most likely went on the word of Peggy who used it to manipulate him. In court, Brenna testified that Russel mentally abused her but never admitted to any physical abuse. Unfortunately, police didn’t have enough evidence to charge Brenna Douglas with any crimes because both Jim and Peggy refused to talk. Jim Huden and Peggy Thomas were charged with Russel Douglas’ murder. In July 2012, Jim Huden was found guilty and sentenced to eighty years in prison. A month later, Peggy Thomas agreed to a plea deal in exchange for a reduced sentence and was given four years in prison for her role in the murder. Jim refused to testify against Peggy and pleaded the fifth at her trial. Peggy continues to deny any involvement in the murder and claims she didn’t know Jim was going to kill Russel. Peggy Thomas was released from prison in 2016.

In the News:

From pageants to famous husband to prison, murder suspect allowed to visit NM. -KRQE (October 7, 2011)

48 Hours:

How did a former beauty queen end up at the heart of a murder case? -48 Hours

The true-crime author of over two dozen New York Times bestsellers tells “48 Hours” she couldn’t help but write about the Russel Douglas case. -48 Hours

Gail O’Neil shares memories of her son, Russel Douglas, who was murdered on Sept. 26, 2003, on Whidbey Island, Wash. -48 Hours

Jim Huden’s former band mates talk to “48 Hours” correspondent Peter Van Sant about what it was like to find out their one-time lead guitarist was accused of murder. -48 Hours

Detectives allege Jim Huden and Peggy Thomas lured Russel Douglas to his death by asking to drop off a present for Russel’s wife, Brenna. Both Jim and Peggy claim the present was delivered to Russel days before the murder. When investigators surprise their suspects with simultaneous separate interrogations, they discover discrepancies. Do you think Jim and Peggy are making up a story to throw off investigators? -48 Hours


A Las Vegas red haired siren and her millionaire boyfriend become suspects in a murder, hundreds of miles away. -Peggy Sue Thomas & Jim Huden, Snapped: Killer Couples

Killer Couples: S8 E4 After the Verdict – Peggy Thomas and Jim Huden | Oxygen

Killer Couples: S8 E4 Bonus Clip – Peggy’s New Self | Oxygen

A Las Vegas red haired siren and her millionaire boyfriend become suspects in a murder, hundreds of miles away. -Peggy Thomas & Jim Huden, Snapped: Killer Couples (S8, E4)

Investigation Discovery:

ID Go: On tiny Whidbey Island, Washington, beauty queen Peggy Sue Thomas seems to be a perfect wife and mother. But when her best friend’s husband is shot to death, Peggy finds herself on center stage of a murder investigation. -If Looks Could Kill, Beauty Queen Murders (S1, E5)

ID Go: After Christmas in 2003, on Whidbey Island off the coast of Washington State, Russel Douglas is found shot in the head, in his car along a deserted road. It’s the start of a case that will take a decade to solve, and leave many with lingering questions. -Whidbey Island Mystery, The Perfect Murder (S5, E6)

Editor’s note: With a cable subscription, you can download the free ID Go app and watch all of the Investigation Discovery programming at your convenience. And for those who do not have cable, you can watch “unlocked” episodes on the ID Go app including the latest premieres. Download the ID Go app and binge away. For those who prefer commercial free programming during your binge session, Prime Video has an ID channel: ‘True Crime Files by Investigation Discovery” available for $2.99 a month. It’s a compilation of older seasons but totally worth the cost if you are a true crime addict.

Related Links:
Peggy Sue Thomas: Drop-Dead Gorgeous
Documents show victim’s wife is suspect in murder
Former Washington beauty queen pleads guilty to lesser charge in murder case
Ex-beauty queen gets 4-year sentence in killing
Ex-beauty queen sentenced for role in Whidbey Island murder
48 Hours: Tracing a fugitive killer’s footsteps in Mexico
Man lured to his death by beauty queen and wannabe rockstar on Boxing Day
‘I’m giving up four years of my life for something I didn’t do’: Ex-beauty queen jailed for helping her lover carry out 2003 murder claims she is an innocent ‘victim’
Peggy Sue got released: TV show recounts sensational Whidbey Island murder
Peggy Thomas, Jim Huden: ‘Snapped Killer Couples’ Details Whidbey Island Murder Case Involving Sultry Beauty Queen and Rock Star Lover
Murder of Russel Douglas by Jim Huden spotlighted on The Perfect Murder
Pageants to Famous Husband to Prison
If Looks Could Kill | Beauty Queen Murders | Investigation Discovery (S1, E5)
Snapped: Killer Couples ‘Peggy Thomas and Jim Huden’
Sneak Peek: Dangerous Beauty | 48 Hours
Why Ann Rule was intrigued with the Russel Douglas murder case | 48 Hours
Remembering Russel Douglas | 48 Hours
Band mates open up about rocker, murder suspect | 48 Hours
Suspects surprised with simultaneous, separate interrogations | 48 Hours
Killer Couples: S8 E4 Preview – Peggy Thomas and Jim Huden | Oxygen
Killer Couples: S8 E4 After the Verdict – Peggy Thomas and Jim Huden | Oxygen
Killer Couples: S8 E4 Bonus Clip – Peggy’s New Self | Oxygen
Peggy Thomas & Jim Huden | Snapped: Killer Couples | Oxygen (S8, E4)
Whidbey Island Mystery | The Perfect Murder | Investigation Discovery (S5, E6)

Leeds, England Police Officer Ian Broadhurst Gunned Down by Dishonorably Discharged Marine and Fugitive David Bieber During Routine Traffic Stop (2003)


Officer Ian Broadhurst (Leeds, England)

In 1996, dishonorably discharged Marine and suspected murderer David Bieber was able to obtain a tourist Visa for England. He worked a few jobs and then met another woman who he married in March 1997 right before his six month tourist Visa expired. David found himself divorced again in May 2002 because of all his suspicious activity. David didn’t resurface until he was confronted by two Leeds, England police officers on December 26, 2003. He was found sitting in front of a known suspicious gambling and betting location. The police ran his plates and placed David in the backseat of the cruiser while they awaited the information. At this point, they didn’t know David was a fugitive and had a concealed 9 mm; but they were concerned about his behavior and called for back up.

The officers learned David’s car was stolen and were going to arrest him when he pulled out the gun. He shot and wounded one officer who was able to get away and shot Officer Ian Broadhurst in the shoulder and the abdomen initially. After back up responded, he shot and wounded another officer and then executed Officer Broadhurst, who was on the ground begging for his life. David Bieber was able to escape again but was eventually captured. On December 2, 2004, David Bieber was found guilty of the murder of Officer Ian Broadhurst and given three life sentences without the possibility of parole. But on appeal, Bieber’s sentence was reduced to life in prison with the possibility of parole in 2041.

Related Links:
Pc: ‘Please don’t shoot me’
Transcript: The shooting of PC Broadhurst
‘Despicable’ attack on PC Ian Broadhurst memorial
In the line of duty: Ian Broadhurst’s murder, a decade on
PC Broadhurst detective says police in ‘more danger’ than decade ago
£277,000 legal aid for police killer… which even helped him whine about his ‘uncomfy cell’: Widow brands decision to give him public money ‘absolutely disgraceful’
Dishonorably Discharged Marine & Fugitive David Bieber Guilty of Murdering Police Officer in Great Britain, Charged with Two Murder for Hire Schemes in Florida (1995)
Murdered On Duty: The Murder of PC Ian Broadhurst
The Murder of PC Ian Broadhurst | British Police Murdered on Duty
Serial Killer: David Bieber
Real Crime: Killer On the Run Part 1
Real Crime: Killer On the Run Part 2
Real Crime: Killer On The Run Part 3
Real Crime: Killer On The Run Part 4

The story of American bodybuilder David Bieber, who became a wanted man in both the UK and the US after the murder of PC Ian Broadhurst. In December 2004 he was jailed for life, but is still trying to escape justice years later. -RealCrimeUK