The Perfect Murder Premiered ‘Whidbey Island Mystery’ on Investigation Discovery: Peggy Sue Thomas Manipulated Jim Huden to Kill Russel Douglas (August 30, 2018)

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)

Russel Douglas was found dead in his car on Whidbey Island in Washington on December 26, 2003. It turns out Navy veteran Peggy Sue Thomas lured him to his death. Both Peggy Thomas and Jim Huden conspired to murder Russel Douglas for revenge. Investigators suspect that the duo committed the murder for Peggy’s friend Brenna, who alleged abuse, but there was never enough evidence to charge Brenna Douglas with any crimes. Jim Huden was convicted and sentenced to eighty years in prison. Peggy Thomas agreed to a plea bargain in exchange for a reduced sentence. Thomas was sentenced to four years for her role in the murder. Peggy Thomas continues to deny any involvement in the murder and claims she didn’t know that her boyfriend at the time was going to kill Douglas (despite being the last to text him shortly before he was murdered). 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

Oxygen:

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)

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
Washington jury says ‘guilty’ in Russel Douglas 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
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)
If Looks Could Kill | Beauty Queen Murders | Investigation Discovery (S1, E5)
Whidbey Island Mystery | The Perfect Murder | Investigation Discovery (S5, E6)

Deadly Women Premiered ‘Love Leaves Town’ on ID: Katrina Bridges Shot Her Sleeping Boyfriend for the Life Insurance (November 25, 2016)

With hearts of stone, these Deadly Women give their men special send-offs when “Love Leaves Town.” A young mom prefers her vices to her boyfriend. -Love Leaves Town, Deadly Women (S10, E12)

Editor’s note: With a cable subscription, you can download the free ID Go app and watch 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. 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 $3.99 a month. It’s a compilation of older seasons but totally worth the cost if you are a true crime addict. Download the ID Go app or purchase ID True Crime Files & binge away.

Related Links:
Love Leaves Town | Deadly Women | Investigation Discovery (S10, E12)
Love Leaves Town | Deadly Women | Investigation Discovery (website)
Love Leaves Town | Deadly Women | Investigation Discovery (Amazon)
Love Leaves Town | Deadly Women | Investigation Discovery (Hulu)
Navy Veteran Christopher Ingraham Jr. Fatally Shot While Sleeping; Girlfriend Katrina Bridges Found Guilty, Sentenced to 47 Years (January 4, 2001)
Deadly Women: 30 Military and Veteran Homicide Cases Featured on Investigation Discovery

Air Force SSgt Steven Williams Pleaded No Contest to the Second Degree Murder of his Ex-Wife & USAF Veteran Tricia Todd in Florida (2016)

Screen Shot 2016-08-16 at 4.07.21 PM

SSgt Steven Williams, US Air Force

  • SSgt Steven Williams, 30, US Air Force, and USAF veteran Tricia Todd, 30, were married for 11 years and had one child
  • Williams and Todd divorced on February 2, 2016
  • Williams was stationed at Seymour Johnson AFB in North Carolina
  • Tricia Todd lived in Hobe Sound, Florida with their only child
  • Williams traveled to Florida to visit their only child
  • Tricia vanished from Florida on April 26, 2016
  • Williams is accused in May 2016 of murdering Tricia Todd
  • Williams admitted to getting in an argument about finances & pushed Todd
  • Williams pleaded no contest to the second degree murder of Tricia Todd
  • Williams was sentenced to 35 years in prison if he led investigators to the body
  • Williams led investigators to her mutilated body in Florida
  • Williams could face additional federal penalties under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) as he was an active member of the armed forces at the time the crime was committed

Florida detectives travel to NC to interview ex-husband of missing mom
SJAFB Airman Confesses To Killing Ex-Wife
Ex-Husband Arrested in Murder of Missing Air Force Vet Mom Tricia Todd
Airman charged with murder of missing Florida woman, his ex-wife
North Carolina airman charged with second-degree murder in death of ex-wife
Airman who killed ex-wife in Florida lived in Raleigh
Ex-husband killed missing Florida mom, search for body underway, sheriff says
Family of Murdered Air Force Vet Forgives the Ex-Husband Who Killed Her: ‘If You Allow Bitterness and Anger to Grow, It Eats You Alive’
Steven Williams’ jail records reveal threat; bizarre mattress incident while behind bars
Body of Air Force veteran killed by her ex-husband found in Florida; ex-husband pleads no contest
Tricia Todd death: Authorities find partial remains in container
Remains believed to be Fla. mom found in acid-filled barrel
Tricia Todd Update: Former Husband Charged with Cutting Up Her Remains
Florida sheriff says NC man used chainsaw to cut up ex-wife
Police Allege Air Force Sgt. Used Chainsaw to Cut Up Remains of Ex-Wife Air Force Veteran Who Had Been Missing Since April
Ex-husband ‘killed Air Force veteran mother and then disposed of her remains with a chainsaw’
Florida Man Charged With 2nd-Degree Murder of Ex-Wife Accepts Plea Deal
Facebook: Search for Tricia Williams Todd

Army Veteran Patricia MacCallum Murdered Husband Christopher for the Children, Social Security Benefits, and Life Insurance; Sentenced to Fifty Years in Oregon Prison (2012)

Chris-2

Christopher MacCallum (2012)

Christopher MacCallum was discovered dead at the bottom of a cliff in Oregon on November 20, 2012. Christopher was reported missing by his wife Patricia and her step-sister after disappearing while they were camping at the Applegate River campsite. Investigators could find no one who had motive to harm Christopher so they started digging into his relationship with Patricia. Christopher and Patricia met in 2008. Patricia joined the Army in January 2011 and five months later in December 2011, she was medically discharged. She moved back to Oregon with the children and left Christopher behind; he was waiting until the lease on their San Antonio, Texas apartment was up. It turns out they separated and reconciled a couple times throughout the course of their relationship. Christopher moved back in with Patricia again in September 2012 and she immediately began plotting his murder with her step-sister. Christopher was dead the next month. From all accounts, Christopher was a good man who loved his children and simply wanted to be with them.

Eventually Patricia MacCallum admitted to shooting Christopher multiple times while he lay asleep in his tent. Patricia’s step-sister Amber Lubbers admitted to assisting with the cover-up of the crime. Together they dumped his body off a cliff and told police that he had gone missing. Prosecutors revealed that the motive for the crime was the custody of the children, social security benefits, and life insurance. Patricia admitted to intentionally getting her husband drunk so that once he passed out, she could kill him when he was most defenseless. Christopher’s father Mike MacCallum shared that he believes that Christopher wanted to save the marriage to prevent the kids from going through a divorce and this desire turned out to be a fatal error. Patricia MacCallum was found guilty and sentenced to 50 years in prison. Amber Lubbers was charged as an accessory after the fact, found guilty, and sentenced to 16 months in prison. She served about half her sentence and was released early because of good behavior.

Related Links:
Obituary: Michael Christopher MacCallum
MacCallum’s Mother Speaks Out; Donations Accepted for Children
Oregon woman to be tried for husband’s murder
Prosecution: MacCallum did it for ‘money, kids and insurance’
Medford woman guilty of murder
Jury finds MacCallum guilty of murdering her husband
The Trial of Patricia MacCallum Convicted of Murdering her Husband, Michael Christopher MacCallum
Woman admits helping cover up murder
Woman sentenced as accomplice in camping trip killing of Medford man
Accomplice in Siskiyou County murder is freed early
Patricia MacCallum, Christopher MacCallum: ‘Snapped’ Spotlights Applegate Creek Campsite Murder of Oregon Husband Found Dead at Bottom of Cliff
Life Insurance Fraud is a Common Motive for Murder in the Military


Sheriffs show up to a campsite where Patricia MacCallum’s husband went missing. -Oxygen Media

Army Spouse Billi Jo Smallwood Convicted of Arson that Killed Her 2 Children Samuel Fagan & Rebekah Smallwood; Sentenced to 25 Years in Federal Prison (June 28, 2012)

Preview: The Ballad of Billi-Jo, True Crime with Aphrodite Jones (S4,E9)

On May 29, 2007, Billi Jo and Wayne Smallwood experienced a fire in their Fort Campbell, Kentucky home. They had three children living with them at the time of the fire: Sam, Rebekah, and Nevaeh. The neighbors ran outside to see what was going on only to find a chaotic scene. Wayne was on the ground with a broken ankle and Billi Jo was still on the roof attempting to escape the smoke and fire and screaming for help; she was holding her 14 month old Nevaeh. After passing the child down to firefighters, Billi Jo was reluctant to get off the roof because her other children were still in the home. Firefighters entered the burning home and found Rebekah but she was already dead and Sam was still alive when they carried him out of the house but he wasn’t stable enough to fly to the burn unit in Nashville. He died of his injuries at the local hospital. Billi Jo was airlifted to a Nashville hospital with second and third degree burns on her legs and one of her arms. Wayne arrived later in Nashville with a shattered ankle.

Before the fire, Wayne and Billi Jo had a pretty normal life. Wayne returned from his first deployment to Iraq nine months earlier. Like most military families, the Smallwood family struggled with their finances and the stresses of military life too. Both Billi Jo and Wayne had children from other relationships. Rebekah and Sam were Billi Jo’s kids and they stayed with her and Wayne’s son Cote lived with his mother. And just over a year before the fire, the couple had their own baby together: Nevaeh. Local authorities brought in federal authorities to investigate the burned out home. They found that one of the smoke detectors had been taken down and placed on a baby highchair. ATF also found a partly burned spout on a gasoline can. They brought in a working dog and the dog discovered an accelerant; the ATF believed gas had been used to start the fire and this was arson. They also found the Smallwood’s car had been vandalized, all the tires had been slashed, and someone left a threatening note keyed on the car.

Investigators interviewed Billi Jo and Wayne Smallwood in the hospital. Billi Jo told them earlier in the day they had driven back from Georgia after visiting Wayne’s family. On this day, Wayne was being especially nice to Sam which was atypical because he was usually pretty hard on him. According to Billi Jo, when they returned home, Wayne took the last of the cash and headed down to a bar on base to drink with his friends; the couple struggled financially. Billi Jo claims that while Wayne was gone, a man called the house threatening to harm Wayne. Billi Jo called the military police to report the threatening phone call, then she called Wayne at the bar. Instead of rushing home to check on his family, Wayne stayed at the bar. The MP’s checked in with Billi Jo but they told her soldier’s quite often played pranks on one another. Eventually, Billi Jo fell asleep with Nevaeh and Wayne fell asleep with Rebekah. When Billi Jo realized the house was on fire, she grabbed Nevaeh so they could get to safety yet Wayne jumped from the second story floor without any of the children.

ATF Agents interviewed the Smallwood’s small circle of family and friends to see if they could find anyone who had a reason to commit this crime. They learned that Wayne was embroiled in a contentious custody battle with his ex-wife. According to Billi Jo, Wayne had recently met with his ex-wife about their son and it lead to an argument; the two fought often. In the meantime, arson investigators determined that because all the locks were engaged downstairs, someone from inside the house had to have started the fire. Agents scrutinized both Billi Jo and Wayne looking for any inconsistencies. Billi Jo told them she went to Wal-Mart earlier in the evening to pick up some items for the baby but when they checked surveillance footage, there was no sign of Billi Jo at the Wal-Mart. When investigators questioned her about the inconsistency, she told them that it was a K-Mart, not Wal-Mart. The second time Billi Jo told the investigators what she bought, it included a gas can. This was a disturbing revelation but Billi Jo’s explanation was simple: military members are fined if they don’t mow the grass.

Prosecutors wanted to prove that Billi Jo torched her home on base in an effort to kill her husband Wayne and collect the $400,000 life insurance pay-out. When constructing their arguments, they noted that the Smallwood’s already had a couple gas cans in the back yard therefore Billi Jo didn’t need to purchase another one. Billi Jo said she forgot to bring a gas can with her when she ran errands and it was easier to just buy another one. ATF Agents visited K-Mart and learned that BJ had in fact visited the store that day. They also learned that the the nozzle on the gas can she bought matched the one found in the fire. And although Billi Jo said she needed to mow the grass, it had not been mowed that day. Federal investigators suspected someone who lived in the house started the fire so they interviewed Wayne and gave him a polygraph; he passed. In a separate interview, Billi Jo admitted she saw blue flames and this was a moment of revelation for the investigators because you are only going to see blue flame when the fire is first lit.

Billi Jo and Wayne argued a lot and Billi Jo testified that Wayne had a violent side too. Billi Jo admitted to confronting Wayne numerous times about his inability to manage money; Wayne’s gambling caused problems too. Investigators theorized Billi Jo had enough of Wayne and this was her motive. On the same night as the fire, the Smallwood’s were overdrawn on their bank account and Wayne had spent the last of their money on alcohol. If Wayne died in the fire, Billi Jo would receive $400,000. Hoping to find out who made the threatening phone calls, prosecutors subpoenaed the telephone records and found no threatening call had been made. Billi Jo says there was a phone call but the phone company said their records are almost 99% accurate. Prosecutors believe everything that comes out of Billi Jo’s mouth is a lie. Billi Jo’s injuries to the legs and one arm were also suspicious. They believed these burns were caused when a fire was ignited in front of her; they believe she was kneeling when she lit the fire.

In preparation for trial, the remains of the Smallwood’s home were removed and taken to a crime lab. It was at this time that forensic experts found overlooked evidence. They determined that the dining room window had been up about 6-8 inches at the time of the fire. This information damaged the prosecution’s theory to an extent because Billi-Jo believed a stranger entered the home and started the fire. The investigators believed either Wayne or Billi Jo started the fire because the house was locked up. Prosecutors moved forward with Billi Jo as their prime suspect because of her connection to a gas can and a financial motive to kill her husband. The prosecution took a look at the intruder theory and couldn’t understand how an adult got through the window and didn’t break or knock anything over. Investigators deduced it was highly unlikely that an intruder would enter the home and not alert the family dog.

Six months after the fire, Billi Jo reported that Wayne was acting erratically and in November 2007, he attacked Billi Jo with a knife. He was convicted of assault and spent eleven months in jail. Billi Jo and Nevaeh move to Georgia with her mother. Two weeks after Wayne was released from jail, Billi Jo was arrested for setting the fire that killed her two children Sam and Rebekah. Five years after the fire that killed Sam and Rebekah, Billi Jo went to trial. The prosecution claimed Billi Jo’s motive was to kill her husband for the life insurance money but the plan backfired and she accidentally killed two of her children. In court, the defense attacked the prosecution’s circumstantial evidence but the jury wasn’t buying it. Billi Jo Smallwood was found guilty and sentenced to twenty-five years in federal prison. Billi Jo’s mother believes she is innocent and that someone out there knows something.

Source: The Ballad of Billi-Jo, True Crime with Aphrodite Jones

Investigation Discovery:

ID Go: When a house fire takes the lives of Wayne and Billi Jo Smallwood’s two young children, everyone on the Fort Campbell military base is grief-stricken for them. But when it turns out the fire was intentionally set – grief turns to outrage. -The Ballad of Billi-Jo, True Crime with Aphrodite Jones (S4,E9)

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:
Samuel Fagan (1997-2007)
Rebekah Smallwood (2004-2007)
Rebekah Josephine Smallwood | Sept. 6, 2003-May 29, 2007
Murderpedia: Billi Jo Smallwood
Fatal Fire At Fort Campbell Ruled Arson
Georgia woman allegedly kills her 2 kids in arson meant to kill husband
Army wife accused in arson that killed her 2 kids
Army wife accused in arson that killed her kids
Army Wife Accused in Arson That Killed Her 2 Kids
Murder-for-insurance failed, prosecutor says
Insurance motive cited in fire that killed 2 kids
Gainesville soldiers wife pleads not guilty to setting fire that killed 2 kids
Woman guilty in fiery deaths of her 2 children
Smallwood guilty of setting fire to Fort Campbell residence
Army Wife Convicted of Setting Fatal Fire
Mother convicted of setting fire that killed her children
Army wife found guilty of setting fire to home killing kids aged 9 and 2 in blaze ‘set for husband’
Mom Gets 25 Years in Base Arson That Killed 2 Kids
Mom Gets 25 Years For Arson That Killed Two Of Her Children
Woman sentenced to 25 years for setting fatal fire
Woman sentenced to 25 years for setting fatal fire
Fort Campbell Woman Sentenced 25 Years for Fatal Fire
Woman who set fire to home, killed two children gets 25 years
Army wife who killed her children after setting fire to her home to try to kill her husband for his $440,000 life insurance policy is sentenced to 25 years
Judge shows leniency for woman convicted of killing children
Judge shows leniency for woman convicted of killing children
USA PLAINTIFF v. BILLI JO SMALLWOOD DEFENDANT (memo opinion & order)
United States of America v Billi Jo Smallwood (2012)
Violent Crime, Suicide & Non Combat Death at Fort Campbell, Kentucky (US Army)
A List of Soldiers Targeted & Murdered for Military Survivor and Life Insurance Benefits (SGLI)
True Crime with Aphrodite Jones – The Ballad of Billi Jo
The Ballad of Billi-Jo | True Crime with Aphrodite Jones | ID Web
The Ballad of Billi-Jo | True Crime with Aphrodite Jones (S4,E9)